Sales of homes remained strong in May

Christina Hoghton
Written By:
Christina Hoghton

Property transactions rose month on month and the market is robust, despite the cost of living crisis

There were 100,870 house sales in May, according to HM Revenue & Customs.

That’s up 1.6% compared to April but down 2% compared to May 2021.

However, the slight dip belies a robust property market. Last year was unusually strong as a result of the stamp duty holiday. This can be seen by the fact that this May was still the third busiest for a decade and is around 4% higher than May 2019.

Sarah Coles, senior personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “There’s still plenty of life left in the property market, but it’s nowhere near as lively as it was at the peak, and it’s not going to perk up much from here.

“May saw slightly more sales than April, but slightly fewer than a year earlier. This is a world away from the peaks we saw in June last year, when roughly twice as many homes were sold. Over time, we can gradually expect sales to fall back, because we’re increasingly seeing buyers think twice about getting into the market, and last week’s rate rise isn’t going to help.

“We expect sales to tail off as we go through the year, but as May’s figures show, it’s not going to be a steady downwards path just yet. There are still plenty of buyers who have been searching for a property for months, so as sellers slowly shuffle onto the market, these long-term hunters will finally find the property they want. It means this particular period of higher sales may well have a reasonably long tail.”

Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, added: “The market continues to defy expectations that a slowdown is looming and it appears that increases to the cost of living and interest rates haven’t deterred people from finding the right property.

“As the demand for homes remains robust, so too will house prices, and while first-time buyers might be looking for something more affordable, it is unlikely that we will see a dramatic readjustment anytime soon.

“Estate agents continue to see a shortage of stock, with buyers ready and waiting for them to offer up a new property for sale. So long as these factors remain the same, sales will likely continue moving upwards, despite the current economic conditions.”