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HMRC transaction figures show slow start to year

There were 0.8 per cent more residential property transactions in January 2019 than in December 2018, according to latest figures from HMRC.

This equates to 101,170 properties transacted when counted on a seasonally adjusted basis, 1.3 per cent higher than the number recorded in January 2018.

Additionally, HMRC reports that the start of this year also saw 10,650 non-residential transactions, a monthly rise of 0.2 per cent and 2.4 per cent annually.

Anderson Harris director Jonathan Harris says: “The market is holding up remarkably well considering what it is up against with ongoing Brexit uncertainty affecting buyer and seller confidence. As we near some resolution one way or another, this will be a huge help and may finally persuade those putting decisions on hold to take the plunge.

“On the lending front, swap rates have dipped on the back of suggestions that interest rates may be held or cut in the event of a no-deal Brexit in order to boost the economy. Lenders are already very competitive on rate so there is not much room for further reductions, but we are seeing more flexibility on products instead, which is welcome.”

Legal & General Mortgage Club director Kevin Roberts comments: “Competition in the mortgage market is high, but transaction levels remain flat. Political uncertainty and financial barriers such as stamp duty are still influencing some homeowners to improve, not move.”

Meanwhile, Yopa chief property analyst Mike Scott says that he expects the stability seen at the start of the year to continue over the next 12 months, “with around 1.2 million home sales in the whole of 2019, as there have been in every year since 2013.

“This level of activity is consistent with a steady market, neither booming nor crashing, so house prices should continue to rise slowly during the year, roughly in line with wage increases,” he concludes.

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