Residential property transactions up 1.6% in May – HMRC

Residential property transactions across the UK climbed by 1.6% in May compared to April, according to new HMRC estimates.

HMRC’s provisional non-seasonally adjusted estimate of residential transactions was 100,870 for May, although this figure was down by 2.0% on May 2021.

For non-residential property transactions, HMRC’s provisional estimate totalled 10,250 for May. This figure is 0.4% higher than April and 9.7% higher than May last year.

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

In recent months, HMRC has reported that UK residential transactions have “stabilised” but remain elevated compared to before the pandemic. The latest estimate for May 2022 of 100,870 compared to 97,040 in May 2019.

Commenting on latest figures, managing director at Legal & General Surveying Services, Kevin Webb, said: “As we approach the midpoint of the year, the peaks of the market are levelling out, especially as we begin to see the impact of rising mortgage rates and living costs on the housing market.

“While this may have slightly dented enthusiasm in the market, activity certainly hasn’t run out of steam. With the Help to Buy scheme coming to a close, and housing market supply-demand starting to rebalance, serious buyers remain determined to proceed with their purchase plans.”

Hargreaves Lansdown senior personal finance analyst, Sarah Coles, added: “May saw slightly more sales than April, but slightly fewer than a year earlier. This is a world away from the peaks we saw in June last year, when roughly twice as many homes were sold.

“Over time, we can gradually expect sales to fall back, because we’re increasingly seeing buyers think twice about getting into the market, and last week’s rate rise isn’t going to help.

“We expect sales to tail off as we go through the year, but as May’s figures show, it’s not going to be a steady downwards path just yet. There are still plenty of buyers who have been searching for a property for months, so as sellers slowly shuffle onto the market, these long-term hunters will finally find the property they want. It means this particular period of higher sales may well have a reasonably long tail.”

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