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March property transactions remain static

Written by: Samantha Partington
The data reflects the market before the lockdown, when the Government advised against all but critical home moves
March property transactions remain static

Residential property transactions in March increased by 0.3 per cent compared to the previous year to reach 99,440, according to figures from HMRC.

The transactions, which are counted when the sale is recorded by the Land Registry, were 0.2 per cent lower than February.

HMRC’s data reflects the market before lockdown restrictions were put in place in-mid March.

Among other social distancing measures, people were stopped from moving home, physical valuations were paused and in-person viewings were stopped.

Activity in the non-residential market was much slower last month than the previous March.

Some 9,470 transactions took place last month which was 8.8 per cent lower than March 2019, and 1.8 per cent lower than the previous month.

Gloomy forecast

A recent forecast from property group Knight Frank painted a gloomy picture of the housing market in 2020.

The firm predicts there will be 350,000 fewer mortgages approved this year because of the coronavirus outbreak and lockdown restrictions.

More than 150,000 mortgages to first-time buyers will be lost, as a total of 526,000 home sales go up in smoke, creating a ripple effect on the wider economy, it estimated.

Almost £8bn will not be spent on DIY and renovations, while £395m less will be spent on removals companies. Lost stamp duty revenue and VAT could reach £4.4bn and £1.6bn respectively, Knight Frank calculated.

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