Home sales in the UK increased in December compared with the previous month, but were significantly lower than 12 months earlier, according to the latest official figures.
Seasonally adjusted sales rose by 0.2% between November and December 2016 but this was 8.5% lower compared than the corresponding month in 2015, HMRC data shows.
But despite the annual fall in property transactions, north London estate agent, Jeremy Leaf, described the pickup in the volume of homes changing hands last month as “encouraging” because it shows that the housing market was “much more resilient than many gave it credit for” amid political and economic uncertainty, which “augurs well for the forthcoming first quarter”.
Stephen Wasserman, managing director of West One Loans, agrees that the “sustained uptick in property transactions”, as shown by the latest figures, is “further reassurance” for those invested in the property sector.
However, the 8.5% fall compared to the same month last year represents something of a reality check, according to Wasserman.
He added: “The economic road of the past few months has been bumpy and, while this looks set to continue, it’s encouraging to see that the UK’s property market is demonstrating such resilience.
“In times of prolonged economic uncertainty, it’s imperative that the industry responds and makes diverse and flexible financing options available for property purchasers. This will help support chains and facilitate new deals.”