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Official: Home sales continue to slide

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Written by: Shekina Tuahene
22/08/2019
Property transactions remain subdued as Brexit and Stamp Duty costs are putting off both buyers and sellers
Official: Home sales continue to slide

Residential property transactions saw an 8.5 per cent fall from June to July, down 12.5 per cent from last year’s count, said HMRC.

This equated to approximately 8,000 fewer completed house purchases during the month.

Overall, the provisional seasonally adjusted UK residential property transaction count for July 2019 was 86,630 which amounted to 12,230 fewer completed house purchases when compared to the same month last year.

Year-on-year, UK non-seasonally adjusted residential transactions in July 2019 suffered an 11 per cent decline on July 2018 as the market saw 11,400 fewer completed transactions.

Staying put

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said the further slip in transactions reflected the decision of buyers and sellers to stay put rather than move to a new house. He said the drop in transactions meant lenders would have to “compete harder” for business.

This follows on from statistics released by UK Finance yesterday which indicated a boost in quarterly mortgage activity across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland by almost £600m, mainly driven by first-time buyers, home purchasers and remortgagors.

In contrast, the figures showed a slowdown in activity in the London market which saw a three per cent drop in home mover mortgages and a 9.5 per cent decrease in remortgage completions.

Due to this, Kevin Roberts, director, Legal and General Mortgage Club, suggested that more thought needed to be given to those further up the property ladder, saying: “To stimulate the market, the government needs to build more housing across all types of tenure. This will provide second steppers and last-time buyers with more choice and in turn, families can up or downsize accordingly.”

Stamp duty deterrent

Director of Benham and Reeves, Marc von Grundherr, added on to this saying stamp duty costs were doing little to stimulate demand “at the other end” of the ladder. He predicted that particular tax would have even more of an effect on the market considering “Sajid Javid has completed a full 360 on his proposals to shift the responsibility to sellers.”

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