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Lower level of home sales recorded in March compared to last year

Lower level of home sales recorded in March compared to last year
Christina Hoghton
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Christina Hoghton

Despite property transactions ticking up marginally between Feburary and March, they are down annually.

According to HMRC, the number of UK residential transactions in March 2024 was 84,200, 6% lower than March 2023 but 1% higher than February 2024.

Nick Leeming, chairman of Jackson-Stops, said: “The property market is on an even keel with a steady base of completions in the first quarter and a healthy pipeline of buyers coming through.

“Across our own national network in March, we saw a positive uptick in new instructions, supporting the view that that market is paving the way for a more active summer. This is reflected in mortgage approvals being significantly up from last year, starting to make a long-awaited return to pre-pandemic levels.

“Buoyed by falling inflation, the possibility that interest rates will soon be cut would be another strong vote of confidence to help grease the wheels of the market and ease the downward pressure on house prices.”

‘Cautious optimism’

Andrew Lloyd, managing director at Search Acumen, added: “The latest property transaction figures from HMRC suggest cautious optimism may be on the cards as we head into the summer season.”

Whilst the uplift in both residential and commercial transaction volumes is modest, the upward trajectory for the second consecutive month signals that the market is slowly regaining its footing after a turbulent 2023.

“On the residential front, the marginal increase aligns with our cautious expectations of a gradual recovery. As economic conditions stabilise and the traditional spring market defrosts from hibernation, more prospective buyers are feeling ready to take the plunge into homeownership, reflected in Zoopla’s latest report showing a 12% annual increase in sales agreed. This month, we have also seen housebuilders give their vote of confidence behind signs of recovery announcing more positive year-end results – an indication the new homes sector may also be on the incline.

“However, we’re still approaching this tentative rebound with some scepticism, as lingering affordability constraints could still serve as a blocker to progress.”