Residential property transactions rise 15.6% in August

Residential property transactions in the UK increased by 15.6% in August as the impact of the stamp duty holiday on the market continued, new HMRC data has revealed.

HMRC’s provisional seasonally adjusted estimate of 81,280 was still 16.3% lower than the figure recorded in August 2019.

For non-residential property transactions, HMRC’s estimate was 7,530 for August, a figure that fell by 7.7% from July 2020, and by 21.0% from August 2019.

Chancellor, Rishiu Sunak, said the stamp duty holiday means nine out of 10 people getting on or moving up the property ladder will pay no Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) at all, and that the measure delivers an average saving of £4,500 in SDLT.

Commenting on HMRC’s latest data, Phoebus Software sales and marketing director, Richard Pike, said: “The health of the housing market continued in August which considering that the stamp duty holiday was only announced in July, is more than likely due to a large number of transactions, that were put on hold, finally completing.

“Over the next couple of months, as the rush to market really kicks in it is likely that these numbers will continue to increase. However, with conveyancers already reporting that workload is slowing completion times there could well be a lag.

“Of course, there is also the imminent announcement of further measures to slow the spread of coronavirus, which will almost definitely have an effect in the longer term.”

Gatehouse Bank chief commercial officer, Paul Stockwell, added: “August’s figures mark the third full month of transactions since the housing market reopened, and the third successive increase in sales.

“As we head into the autumn, transactions data will finally catch up with the buyers whose purchase was directly tied to the stamp duty incentive, and their activity is likely to bring sales in line with 2019’s levels before the year is out.

“The strength of the market in recent months indicates that even with darker economic clouds looming, buyers currently still have faith in the resilience of the UK housing market.”

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