Property transactions down 8.7% in May – HMRC

May saw 103,100 residential property transactions in the UK, according to the provisional non-seasonally adjusted estimate from HMRC.

This figure reflected a fall of 8.7% from April, but was 123.4% higher than May 2020, when the UK was in its first lockdown.

Non-seasonally adjusted UK residential transactions have gradually increased since May last year, peaking in March with an estimate of 173,920 transactions. The latest estimate for May was also the highest May total since 2014, when transactions were slightly higher at 103,110.

For non-residential transactions, HMRC also confirmed its provisional non-seasonally adjusted estimate for May was 9,560. This total was 7.8% lower than April, but 80.1% higher than May 2020.

Commenting on the figures, Hope Capital CEO, Jonathan Sealey, said: “There has been a significant drop in the level of residential transactions in both April and May, which was to be expected following the frenzy of activity we saw up until the end of March.

“A certain amount of cooling off and a return to less frantic levels of activity is likely to be welcomed by some quarters of the sector. However, we anticipate June will produce a further increase as homebuyers push to get over the line before the extended stamp duty holiday deadline.”

Bluestone Mortgages managing director, Steve Seal, added: “It’s encouraging to see that the number of property transactions has remained at a healthy level as the market continues to recover.

“House prices are now experiencing a substantial boom, with the stamp duty holiday and demand for remote-work-appropriate properties both helping to fuel the market’s rebound. Rising house prices have, however, been detrimental to first-time buyers, pushing their homeownership aspirations even further out of reach.

“Many younger borrowers have also experienced a financial setback during the crisis, which has only compounded the problem.”

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