Residential property transactions fall 20% year-on-year – HMRC

The number of residential property transactions fell by an annual 20% in December, according to new HMRC figures.

December’s total of 85,820 transactions across the UK also represented a 2% monthly fall from November – the fourth consecutive month-on-month fall in residential transactions.

HMRC’s monthly estimates are based on its own records as well as those of Revenue Scotland and the Welsh Revenue Authority, for Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT), Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) and Land Transaction Tax (LTT) in each of the three nations respectively.

In terms of non-residential property, HMRC also reported that December registered 10,730 transactions, a total marginally higher than December 2022 having seen a small increase worth less than 1%. However, the figure was 8% up on the previous month.

Director at Legal & General Mortgage Club, Clare Beardmore, commented: “Despite a slower pace in December due to the holiday season, the market received an early gift in the form of a rates war, which has since captured the headlines.

“Falling swap rates – which determine mortgage pricing – have encouraged healthier competition among lenders, leading to a decline in average mortgage rates for the fourth consecutive month in December. The average mortgage rate now sits below 5%, helping to drive an increase in borrower enquiries.”

CEO of Spicerhaart and Just Mortgages, John Phillips, added: “While it was far from an ideal end to the year, we have started 2024 on a really strong footing with high levels of buyer registrations and valuations being booked – the highest we’ve seen for a good number of months. New build lead numbers have also seen a strong start to the year too.

“Despite the recent inflation scare, there are many positive indicators for the market and the year ahead, and there’s no question potential buyers are beginning to respond to this and find some confidence. Whether they can find the affordability to match is another matter, and another reason why advice is so essential.

“There’s no doubt that affordability will continue to be a big factor this year. If brokers have ever needed a reminder to be proactive and remain visible in their local area, this is certainly it.”

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