Residential property transactions jump 13.1% in December – HMRC

December saw a 13.1% monthly climb in the number of residential property transactions across the UK, new HMRC data has revealed.

The total figure reached 129,400 residential transactions over the month, which was 31.5% higher than in December 2019.

HMRC’s statistics are based on monthly property transactions completed in the UK with a value of £40,000 or above.

For non-residential properties across the UK, HMRC also recorded 10,470 transactions in December. This figure reflected a 14.5% increase from November, and a 4.5% climb from December 2019.

Commenting on the data, more2life CEO, Dave Harris, said the findings showed a “considerable amount of activity” in the UK’s housing market in December, as buyers “rushed to complete their purchases in time for the holidays”.

“This surge is likely to continue this month, with many people hoping to take advantage of the government’s stamp duty holiday before it expires in March,” Harris commented.

“Some of these buyers are likely to include older homeowners who are looking to downsize to free up equity.  However, even with the stamp duty holiday, there will be moving and legal costs to meet and they may well find that their dream smaller home isn’t as easy to find as they imagined.”

Legal & General Mortgage Club director, Kevin Roberts, said: “It has been an incredibly busy few months for the mortgage market, so it’s not altogether surprising to be seeing property transactions on the rise too.

“A combination of the stamp duty holiday and a ‘race for space’ fuelled by people spending more time at home during lockdown has caused a surge in activity in the market. However, the stamp duty deadline is drawing ever closer and buyers now have just over two months to complete on their property purchase.”

Phoebus Software sales and marketing director, Richard Pike, added: “The good news this morning is that, despite worries to the contrary, mortgage transactions are still getting through to completion.

“The next hurdle will be getting those transactions over the line before the deadline. This is now something that looks unlikely to change, especially as yesterday the latest petition to government was put on ice, along with all petitions until Westminster Hall opens again. The disappointing thing about this particular petition is that there is a deadline, one that is unlikely to see government back in parliament to debate in time.”

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