The number of residential property transactions decreased slightly between July and August according to newly released data from HMRC, with last month’s seasonally adjusted total being 6.1% less than the same month last year.
Seasonally adjusted figures show that there were 97,660 residential property transactions and 10,620 non-residential transactions last month.
Transactions peaked in March so far this year, when there were 179,670 property transactions in the UK after property investors pushed through property purchases in a manic rush to beat the new stamp duty charges which came into force at the start of April.
“The top-line figures are slightly down from August last year, but this is no cause for concern – it is important to note that when you discount seasonal adjustment, the changes from the same period last year, are negligible,” said David Brown (right), CEO of Marsh & Parsons.
He continued: “The total numbers for Q1 and Q2 of 2016 were astronomically high compared to the corresponding period last year. Consequently, the market is still levelling after the frenzy we saw as people clambered to meet the April stamp duty deadline.
“The Bank of England’s plans to curb buy-to-let mortgages also caused such an enormous spike in activity, that even if we had not had the referendum vote, we would have expected to spend a good few months seeing the market recover to some level of normality.”
Andy Sommerville (below), director of Search Acumen, was also encouraged to see that pre-referendum forecasts of economic meltdown continue to “appear overblown” as August’s residential property transactions show some resilience and commercial activity gains a new lease of life.
He commented: “The figures show a stable increase in residential transaction activity every month since the Brexit vote and those within the property sector are finding themselves asking what all the fuss was about.
“We are, however, in danger of being overly optimistic about the short-term stability we’ve seen over the past months as a 6.1% decline since the same month last year uncovers 12 months of turbulence in our sector and efforts to get our market back on its feet must not slowdown.
“Looking ahead, it is essential that our market remains optimistic. Industry players will need to not shy away from drawing investment and regaining some stamina before tackling the continuous challenges our divorce with the EU will bring.”