House sales fall as market begins to level out

House sales fall as market begins to level out
Photo: Jocelyn Erskine-Kellie [Pexels]

UK property transactions fell by 10.5 per cent in April, according to recent HM Revenue and Customs data. 

HMRC data showed there were 97,970 property transactions (non-seasonally adjusted) in April 2022, down 10.5 per cent from March and 13.9 per cent from a year earlier.

This is still the second busiest April for a decade, and is about 10 per cent higher than April 2019.

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Sarah Coles, senior personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "The vertiginous peaks and troughs in house sales have started to level out, and while they’re still at a higher altitude than before the pandemic, it raises the question as to whether we’re heading for lower ground as the market starts to slow.

"Property sales were slightly lower than in March, but we shouldn’t read too much into this, because we still saw the second busiest April in a decade. Meanwhile, we know from the latest RICS residential survey that April saw the eighth consecutive month of increasing demand from buyers, so slowing sales owe much to the fact that there was very little stock to go around."

In addition, the HMRC data showed seasonally adjusted UK residential transactions in April stood at 106,780.

This was 12.1 per cent lower than April 2021 and 3.9 per cent lower than March 2022.

However, HMRC recommends treating seasonally adjusted figures with caution because of the impact of the stamp duty holiday.

It comes as, last week it was revealed that UK house price growth fell back to single digits, whereby experts observed that “economic gravity is finally catching up with the property market”.

Anthony Codling, chief executive of property platform, Twindig saidd: “The early stages of the cost of living crisis may have taken the temperature of the housing market down a degree or two, but it certainly hasn't run out of steam. 

“It is too early to tell the impact of rising mortgage rates and living costs on the housing market, but a slight slowing or pause for breath after a very hectic and heady couple of years may not be a bad thing.”

John Phillips, national operations director, Just Mortgages said: “This is the first time in six months that UK (seasonally adjusted) housing transactions have fallen from the month before and the lowest level of transactions since December 2021.

“This decrease in housing transactions suggests that fears about the continuing rise of interest rates coupled with a significant increase in the cost of living has somewhat doused enthusiasm in the market. 

“If people have the intention or aspiration to move in 2022 then it seems to be the case of the sooner the better, to secure the best possible rate for their loan but a rapidly changing financial landscape means the value of advice has never been higher.