Editor's Pick

Slowest March in a decade for the housing market

Christina Hoghton
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Christina Hoghton

Property transactions were up from February to March, but still down compared to last year

There were 94,870 property sales in March, according to HM Revenue & Customs.

This was up 26% from February, but still 14% lower than a year earlier.

On a seasonally adjusted basis the figures reveal a negative picture, explained Sarah Coles, head of personal finance at Hargreaves Lansdown.

She said: “When they’re seasonally adjusted, they look less positive – at 89,560 – up just 1% from February and down 19% from a year earlier.”

Coles added: “This is far from a bumper spring selling season. The seasonally-adjusted figures remove the impact of seasonal trends. Without them we had a shocking January, a worse February, and a very marginal improvement in March – which was still the worst March in a decade.”

Nick Leeming, chairman of Jackson-Stops, was more bullish. He said: “The volumes are yet to fully reflect the typically busier spring months, when many home movers complete before Easter. Transaction volumes on the surface are levelling out, as the market self-regulates after an extended period of erratic activity and unserviceable levels of buyer demand.

“As the swinging pendulum of house prices continues to soften slightly giving broader opportunities to new buyers, the market will wait to see if the next interest rate decision will usher in further hurdles for those reliant on favourable lending rates.”