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Double-digit drop in housing sales recorded over last year

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Brexit uncertainty and a lack of supply has led to a significant fall in the number of property transactions, as buyers and sellers remain cautious
Double-digit drop in housing sales recorded over last year

There were 89,810 residential UK property transactions recorded in May 2019 and 10,090 non-residential transactions, according to Government figures.

Residential transactions decreased by 6.4% between April 2019 and May 2019, and by 11.3% compared to May 2018.

Although fluctuating, residential transactions have been relatively stable over the last 10 years, according to HMRC, after falling in 2007 during the financial crisis.

Joseph Daniels, founder of modular developer Project Etopia, said: “Property transactions are plumbing near three-year lows after the Brexit cliff edge at the end of March played havoc with Britons’ property plans.

“An orderly market that is less prone to shocks and wild variations in price is one greased by adequate sales volumes, and that’s the opposite of what we’ve got.

“On an annual basis, this is a bit of a horror show when most spectators would have been expecting to see a continued recovery in transaction levels that first took a dive more than a decade ago when the first dominos of the financial crisis were still coming down.

“Britain still faces a housing crisis but, typically, low transaction volumes do not provide the sort of predictable springboard of demand on the doorstep that the industry needs to build in ever greater volumes. One of the reasons is that the lack of homes coming to market causing affordability problems for many as tight supply pushes prices up, forcing some buyers to step away.”

Paul Smith, CEO of haart estate agents, added: “Looking forward, it is difficult to predict how the market will perform. As we know, the one-third of the market who have to move home for lifestyle reasons will always be there, but there is more work to be done to encourage the other two thirds back.

“Hopefully, our new Prime Minister has plans prepared to breathe new life into the market as a stimulus for the rest of the economy.”

Non-residential transactions also fell in May, by 0.8% compared to April 2019, and by 3.7% compared to a year earlier.

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