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Home sales fell 55% in the year to June

Christina Hoghton
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Christina Hoghton

The dramatic figures are skewed by last year’s Stamp Duty holiday boom, but there are signs of a housing market slowdown emerging

There were 96,290 UK residential transactions in June 2022, according to figures from HM Revenue & Customs – a fall of 55.1% compared to a year earlier and 3.1% lower than May 2022.

However, HMRC warned that the large annual drop ‘should be treated with caution’. That’s because sales last year were unusually high as a result of buyers rushing to purchase during the Stamp Duty holiday.

Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, said: “It’s tempting to assume that any fall in property transactions is the result of current economic troubles. Don’t be fooled into thinking that a downturn is on the horizon.

“Every month we see house price growth defy expectations, with the volume of sales resilient thanks to buyers who are determined to get their foot on the property ladder.

“It remains to be seen whether a dip this month will be the start of a slowdown in the market. Sales are down 55% compared to this time last year, when the frenzy of the stamp duty holiday was in full swing.

“We are still seeing a strong demand for good quality housing, and many estate agents are inundated with enquiries. A fall in transactions is likely to be the result of demand outweighing the supply.”

Sarah Coles, senior personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, added: “The spectacular drop from a year earlier needs to be taken with a pinch of salt, because this was the peak of the market, when we saw a stampede of buyers desperate to complete before the stamp duty holiday became decidedly less attractive. However, the monthly movements are starting to add up to a general downwards trend.

“Demand has fallen, and those buyers who are still looking are increasingly cautious. We’re seeing fewer bidding wars, more sales falling through as buyers push for a price drop. and at the higher end of the market more people are having to accept a lower offer. These aren’t enormous shifts, but again, the overall trend is telling.

“We expect sales continue to tail off as we go through the year, it won’t be a straight line, but our zig zagging property sales figures aren’t heading in a particularly positive direction.”