HMRC – Housing transactions flat in June
The latest housing data from HM Revenue & Customs shows that residential transactions in the UK stood at 96,340 in June, a seasonally adjusted monthly fall of 3.0 per cent.
This compares to 102,180 transactions made in June last year – a 5.7 per cent drop. The historical data paints a flat picture, with seasonally adjusted transactions throughout 2018 never breaking 100,000– this year’s high was back in January, at 99,480 transactions.
On this flat activity, Legal & General Mortgage Club director Kevin Roberts says: “Barriers to moving, such as Stamp Duty and the high price of property in our urban areas, means that for many the maxim remains ‘improve, not move’, as they seek to renovate or develop their homes, rather than move up the housing ladder.
“The biggest factor is housing supply. The nation simply hasn’t built enough new homes over the last decade to keep up with demand. Innovation in the mortgage market and schemes such as Shared Ownership is helping, but if we want to resolve the housing crisis once and for all, we need to meet the target of 300,000 new properties a year.”
Resi.co.uk chief executive Alex Depledge comments: “After a slight uptick in transactions in May, a decrease in June will be disappointing for those looking to sell their home. Issues still remain as second time buyers are being hit by high stamp duty costs and are struggling to afford to move, halting growth within the market.”
Former RICS residential chairman and north London estate agent Jeremy Leaf says: “For us, the number of property transactions is always a much better indicator of market strength than house prices, with recent economic and political uncertainty reflected in these lower, seasonally-adjusted numbers. We certainly would have expected higher figures bearing in mind the spring buying season is generally the best for the property market.
“However, we are not really surprised when, on the ground, we are seeing fewer buyers nervously trying to negotiate best possible terms and transaction times lengthening as a result. We don’t expect to see any great change but have noticed more listings and viewings in the past month or so, which hopefully will be reflected in slightly higher transaction numbers later in the year.”
Meanwhile, OneSavings Bank sales and marketing director John Eastegate says: “Affordability challenges still prevail, with house price inflation continuing to exceed wage inflation, leaving house prices still out of reach for many. However, there may be some cause for optimism with recent mortgage data pointing to an uptick in lending amongst first time buyers, arguably fuelled by Help to Buy, but there is an awful long way to go before buyer activity is back to pre-crash levels.”
Source: Mortgage Strategy