Home sales plummeted 21 per cent over last 12 months

Home sales plummeted 21 per cent over last 12 months
Christina Hoghton
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Christina Hoghton

There was a small three per cent dip in transactions between September and October 2023, according to data from HM Revenue & Customs.

It reported there were 82,910 residential home sales in October, down 21 per cent compared to October 2022.

Karen Noye, mortgage expert at Quilter, said the UK property market remains ‘stuck in a deep freeze’.

She explained: “Though mortgage rates are showing signs of stabilising, they are considerably higher than in previous years and this is putting a real dampener on people’s enthusiasm for moving home or taking their first step onto the property ladder.

“This stall in transactions shows people are still stuck in ‘wait and see’ mode, likely holding out in the hopes of a dip in house prices and lower mortgage costs.

Nick Leeming, chairman of estate agent Jackson-Stops, was more optimistic. He said: “The market is embracing greater realism on pricing, reflecting a market that is more balanced with buyers now in the strongest negotiating position in five years.

“It’s easy to suggest that a slowdown of any extent is bad news for the market, but the minimal month-on-month fall amidst a backdrop of stubborn inflation and high mortgage rates is a ringing endorsement for the resilience of the property market and buyer and lender confidence.”

Andy Sommerville, director at property data firm, Search Acumen, was less bullish. He added: “Despite some cause to be positive about the economic progress we have made through 2023, we haven’t turned the corner yet.

“The OBR recently cut its growth outlook for the UK for 2024 and 2025, the Governor of the Bank of England has reiterated that he does not see interest rates being cut for the foreseeable future and inflation remains double the Bank of England’s target rate meaning that, while we have made undoubted economic progress, people don’t feel any better off yet and may not for some time.”