HMRC – Residential property transactions up in October
Figures from HMRC show the number of residential property transactions stood at 102,530 in October, a 0.9 per cent increase from September.
This month’s seasonally adjusted figure is 1.3 per cent higher compared with the same month last year.
In October 2018, non-adjusted residential transactions were approximately 13.8 per cent higher than September 2018. Year-on-year, non-adjusted residential transactions rose 4.1 per cent in October 2018 compared to October 2017.
Mortgage Advice Bureau head of lending Brian Murphy says: “This morning’s report from HMRC provides us with the number of residential transactions in the UK for October, and therefore gives a totally independent measure of the market.
“Looking at both the adjusted and unadjusted figures for last month, it seems that against a barrage of Brexit-driven headlines, the UK property market as a whole continues to perform unabated for the most part with a modest increase on completions on the previous month and the same period last year and 2016.
“Although buyer affordability is still stretched in some conurbations and at certain market price points, the fact that lenders have continued to tune their pricing and offer mortgages at ultra-competitive rates is probably helping the overall market stimulus, particularly as long-term money, such as five and even ten-year mortgages, is still comparatively low which may well be assisting consumer confidence.”
UK Sotheby’s International Realty head of residential Guy Bradshaw says: “Today’s figures reflect the flurry of activity our offices have seen on the ground from late summer onwards. Buyers have been biting the bullet and transacting, rather than adopting the wait and see approach which dominated the first half of 2018 due to Brexit.
“A modest uplift of 1.3 per cent in transactions on the year indicates that activity is genuinely happening across the market.”
Furthermore, data from HM Revenue & Customs shows that stamp duty transactions and receipts in Q3 2018 grew 11 per cent on a quarterly basis to number 307,100 but fell 8 per cent annually. The report adds that because of the devolution of stamp duty land tax to Wales in April 2018, however, the data is not directly comparable over the 12 months.
In terms of value, stamp duty receipts came to almost £3.2bn, a quarterly increase of 14 per cent, but 9 per cent down when measured yearly.
Regarding first-time buyers and the stamp duty relief that they can claim, the government figures show that 58,800 further transactions during the third quarter of the year brought the total amount of FTB relief claims to 180,500, with the total value of relief thought to be £426m.
Of this, Private Finance director Shaun Church comments: “The stamp duty exemption has arguably been one of the most successful initiatives to get more buyers onto the housing ladder.
“If the government is committed to fixing our housing market, stamp duty relief shouldn’t end, however, with FTBs. We urge the government to turn its attention to last-time buyers as too many would-be downsizers remain in their family homes unwilling to move due to the hefty tax bill they would incur.”
Source: Mortgage Strategy