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Property transactions rise 16 per cent in May

Christina Hoghton
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Christina Hoghton

There was a stark jump in sales last month as lockdown began to ease, but transactions in May were only half the level seen a year ago

Residential property transactions were up 16 per cent in May from April, with 48,450 transactions during the month, figures from HMRC show.

However, the figure is still half that of May 2019.

The data includes the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the housing market and shows transactions completed in May were 50 per cent lower than they were a year ago.

Non-residential transactions also picked up 14 per cent month-on-month with 5,880 completed in May. However, this was a 42 per cent decline on the same month last year.

Return of appetite

Anna Clare Harper, co-founder of property fund Anglo Residential, said: “What we can see from the HMRC data and from what we are hearing from investors, appetite is responding quickly.

“We are seeing the signs of strong appetite to move forward with investments in the UK residential market in particular.”

Resumed activity

Jeremy Leaf, former Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors residential chairman, said as the figures represented activity initiated months ago, it was “historically disappointing” but still reflected the resumption of deals in the market.

He added: “As always, it is property transactions rather than the more volatile prices which prove to be a better barometer of market strength and these are no exception.

“Looking forward, listings are increasing which is encouraging and likely to bring more balance.”

Andrew Southern, chairman of property developer Southern Grove, said: “The vast majority of these transactions will represent sales put on hold by the coronavirus shut down so, at this point, HMRC’s figures are not an indicator of how buyers and sellers are flooding back to the market.

“The HMRC figures to watch will come much later in the autumn when they will reflect the post-lockdown activity of May and June.”