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Home sales down 32% in September

Christina Hoghton
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Christina Hoghton

Property transactions are still above pre-pandemic levels, but the housing market is beginning to soften

There were 112,370 residential transactions in September 2022, 32% lower than September 2021, according to HM Revenue & Customs.

However, sales figures were actually the same as in August 2022, highlighting the fact that the annual comparison is skewed by a huge spike in sales last Autumn due to the Stamp Duty holiday.

In fact, sales are still higher than before the pandemic. But there could be falls to come, according to some experts.

Trouble ahead?

Sarah Coles, senior personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Sales agreed in the coming weeks are likely to look far uglier, as the chaos unleashed by the mini-budget pushed mortgages well out of reach for an awful lot of buyers.

“Moneyfacts puts the average two-year fixed rate almost three percentage points higher than the June figure – at a 14-year high of 6.53%. We can expect this to hit completion figures towards the end of this year and into the beginning of 2023, when today’s sense of mounting dread feeds into the figures.”

Andy Sommerville, director at Search Acumen, added: “As the political and economic climate remains unsteady and house prices start to soften, the pendulum is swinging towards a buyers’ market. The shifting dynamics of the property market may in turn increase pressure on conveyancers to not just beat expiring borrowing offers, but also to exchange before Christmas.

“It’s no longer the buyer with the highest offer who wins, but the buyer with the fewest complications in fear of protracted transactions and higher risks.”