March sees residential property transactions double total from last year – HMRC

There were 190,980 residential transactions across the UK property market in March, new HMRC data has revealed.

This figure was 32.2% higher than the level recorded in February, and more than double (102.3%) the amount of transactions in March last year.

HMRC also stated that its estimate for March 2021 is the highest monthly total since the introduction of its stamp duty statistics in their current format from 2005.

For non-residential transactions, HMRC also revealed the provisional seasonally adjusted estimate reached 12,530. This figure was 24.5% higher than February, and 53.0% higher than March 2020.

HMRC confirmed that its latest data had “captured impacts” from the temporarily increased nil rate bands for Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) in England, Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) in Scotland and Land Transaction Tax (LTT) in Wales.

The figures have also been affected by taxpayers who sought to complete March transactions in time for the original policy end dates of 31 March, as well as the introduction of different rates from 1 April.

Commenting on the latest HMRC data, Mortgage Engine managing director, Cloe Atkinson, said: “March’s data shows there’s still a healthy level of activity in the market, reflecting the high levels of demand from buyers, boosted by the extension of the stamp duty holiday.

“The figures are further proof that the housing market has adapted well to operating efficiently during the pandemic. Brokers, lenders and borrowers have learned how to successfully navigate the difficult conditions caused by lockdown restrictions.”

Hope Capital CEO, Jonathan Sealey, described the number of transactions doubling their total from a year ago as “a real shot in the arm” for the market and the wider economy.

“With the chancellor’s extension of the SDLT holiday to the end of June, we have avoided the cliff edge that the market feared before Christmas, although it’s likely numbers will drop back in April as the pressure eases,” Sealey commented.

“However, the market could face a long hot summer as we get closer to the new deadline, which is where specialist lenders can play a key role in offering choice and flexibility that high street lenders can’t provide.”

Just Mortgages and Spicerhaart national operations director, John Phillips, added: “The spike in property transactions in March has undoubtedly had a helping hand from the collective accumulation of additional savings during lockdown among UK households. This is estimated to total a whopping £180bn and will be a contributory factor as to why people are relocating to larger properties with more outdoor space.
 
“As we look forward, this demand is only set to increase as those with smaller deposits will be entering heated waters thanks to the government’s new 95% Mortgage Guarantee Scheme.
 
“With the scheme affording more first-time-buyers the opportunity to get a foot on the housing ladder, we can safely hypothesise that this, coupled with the successful vaccine rollout and increased confidence in the economy, will inevitably add to the sharp-set hunger in the market.”

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