Editor's Pick

Spring bounce for home sales between February and March

Christina Hoghton
Written By:
Christina Hoghton

A large annual fall in home sales belies a robust housing market with strong monthly growth in transactions

The headline statistic from this month’s HMRC residential transations data makes for pretty gloomy reading at first glance. UK residential transactions in March 2022 were down 36.2% compared to last year.

However, the sharp fall in sales should be treated with caution. Last year saw a spike in transactions as buyers rushed to take advantage of the presumed Stamp Duty holiday deadline. The tax break has now finished and the market has adjusted accordingly.

In fact, the monthly figures show a more positive picture with sales up significantly – 18.2% – between February and March, with 110,990 sales last month.

Nick Leeming, chairman at Jackson-Stops, said: “This increased interest in the spring happens for several reasons – we have brighter weather which lends itself to better photography for advertising, gardens begin to bloom and buyers come to market having had time over the winter to consider their priorities for the year, and vendors in turn respond to this demand.

“Today’s figures highlight how these factors were accentuated in 2021 due to the pandemic and stamp duty holiday, reflected in the significant decrease in transactions on the year.

“Whilst current pricing levels are still tempting homeowners on to the market, the ongoing imbalance between stock and demand could serve to keep prices rising but transaction numbers tempered through the course of year. As the Great British love affair with home ownership shows no sign of abating, now is the time for vendors to list their property and capitalise on market conditions that continue to favour sellers.”

Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, added: “Home moves are down year on year, but only because of a rush to buy in March last year caused by the impending end of the popular stamp duty holiday.

“The industry continues to see a lack of properties on the market, which is pushing up prices across the board.

“Demand remains high, and the market looks likely to keep moving upwards as it continues to ignore all the uncertainty in the rest of the economy.”