The number of residential property transactions in the UK increased by 4.9% between May and June, according to new data from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
The figures from HMRC show 94,550 homes were sold in June compared with 89,700 in May despite the uncertainty around the EU referendum and higher stamp duty costs for buy-to-let investors and those acquiring second homes.
The increase in the number of property transactions recorded has been welcomed by various property professionals, including Andrew Bridges, managing director of Stirling Ackroyd, who insisted that this was “exactly what the property industry needs now”.
He commented: “After stamp duty changes early in the year leading to buyers tightening their pockets, it’s great to see buying and selling approaching a new period of Brexit-related obstacles with a sense of vitality.”
But the volume of transactions last month remains significantly lower than the 164,400 recorded in March when landlords scrambled to snap up homes before the 3% stamp duty surcharge came into effect at the start of April.
Last month’s seasonally adjusted figure also represents a 10.2% drop compared with the same month last year.
“The year on year deterioration in residential transaction figures in June, which the latest HMRC data shows, will not come as a surprise to stakeholders in our industry,” said Andy Sommerville, director of Search Acumen.
“After the pre-April spike in activity, we now continue to see the stamp duty surcharge slowdown take hold. However, homebuyers were also hit by creeping uncertainty ahead of the EU vote. All sectors of the UK economy were thrown into a state of uncertainty amidst the referendum vote at the end of June, which will continue to have a knock-on impact on transactions in coming weeks and months,” he added.
On the contrary, Sommerville (left) is encouraged to see that June’s non-residential transaction figure is 11.6% higher when compared with the corresponding month last year. But he acknowledged that no area of the property market will be “left untouched” by the referendum, and as June’s transaction figures encompass just seven days of the post- Brexit economy, “we cannot yet expect to get a clear picture of its impact”.
He continued: “In these times, it is essential that conveyancers and professionals in the wider property market are adjusting their businesses to prepare for at the least, a short to mid-term continuation of these trends.
“A new government appointed earlier than expected offers a glimmer of political stability, but there is clearly so much left unresolved. Prioritising business acumen within firms – not just conveyancing acumen – will be absolutely essential in the months ahead, in order to ensure flexibility and competitiveness in the wake of Brexit.”