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Transactions bounced back in August – latest HMRC data

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Thu 23 Sep 2021

Transactions bounced back in August – latest HMRC data

The latest UK monthly property transactions data from HMRC National Statistics shows that the provisional, seasonally adjusted, estimate of UK residential transactions in August 2021 is 98,300, 20.8% higher than August 2020 and 32.0% higher than July 2021.

The bounce comes after a drastic fall in transactions in July as the SDLT holiday cliff-edge was reached and perhaps is further evidence that the holiday was not entirely responsible for the extraordinary levels of sales during the pandemic. It also indicates that the pressure of low sales stock is not going to ease any time soon and that the supply challenges will likely push first-time buyers still further from home ownership.

Chris Hutchinson, CEO of Canopy:

“Activity in the housing market has raced back up again in August after the immediate lull in demand following the stamp duty holiday coming to an end in July.

“First-time buyers may finally be getting a foot forward after months of being blocked out of the frenzied market, but we’re still seeing a big chasm between supply and demand, which is fuelling competition. Recent data from Propertymark suggests that there are an average 19 buyers chasing every available property on the market. And with rents soaring at record rates, many people may find it impossible to raise the funds for a deposit and secure an affordable mortgage.

“Now is the time for the government to consider more long-term solutions to support first-time buyers. Helping renters get credit-ready can make all the difference between being denied or accepted that all-important mortgage when the time comes to buy. Building the financial security of renters should be a top priority.”

Sam Mitchell, CEO of online estate agent Strike:

“The property market has proved its resilience yet again, with transactions climbing 32% in August.

“We’re witnessing another flurry of activity as buyers and sellers rush to complete before the final stamp duty savings are removed this month, with properties valued under £250,000 still benefiting from the relief. But the strength of the UK housing market goes well beyond fluctuations around changing tax policies, and we see little sign of it slowing down in the months to come despite the stamp duty holiday finally ending.

“There are still other incentives on offer, like the uplift in 95% mortgage offerings and record-low interest rates. Plus, people are continuing to reassess their needs in a home due to increased remote working, with more space and rural living proving to be more in demand than ever before.”

Anthony Codling of Twindig:
“We expect to see another spike in transactions in September, one last stamp duty holiday hurrah before an autumn lull as the market catches up with the transactions which have been pulled forward by the stamp duty holiday. At this point in time the housing market is looking healthy and we hope it’s good health continues.”

Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills:

“Today’s data means there have been more than 1 million transactions in the first eight months of the year for the first time since the credit crunch.
“It is remarkable that monthly transactions are back in line with normal pre pandemic levels just two months after a significant surge in transactions in June, especially given the shortage of homes currently on the market.”

Nick Leeming, Chairman of Jackson-Stops:

“Today’s transaction statistics, which show a big increase from July’s numbers, evidence that deeper changes in lifestyle preferences are set to support consistently high levels of market activity long term, and that buyers aren’t being deterred even by an increase in their tax bill.

“Whilst we may not see quite the same level of intensity that we saw in the spring, which was the product of an unprecedented set of market forces, we are already starting to see signs of a return to relatively high levels of activity coming into the autumn, with adjusted UK residential transactions close to pre-pandemic levels.

“Across the country, many people will be looking to the future and considering carefully how changes to their working patterns and lifestyles will affect what they need from their home.

“While the phasing out of the SDLT holiday has reduced the need to act at breakneck speed, the fact that transactions are on the rise so quickly in a typically slower month for the market, shows that people across the country aren’t wasting time in adapting to major changes in the relationship between life and work. This will continue to fuel demand.