Residential sales in UK up by almost 5%

Residential sales recorded in the UK increased by almost 5% between May and June 2016, according to the latest estimated figures to be published.

The residential transaction count was 94,550 and while this is up 4.9% month on month, it is 10.2% lower compared with the same month last year.

The large increase in transactions for March 2016 followed by the substantial reduction in April is likely to be associated with the introduction of the higher rates on additional properties in April 2016, according to HMRC which publishes the figures.

However, whilst April and May 2016 are lower than the corresponding months in 2015, it should be noted that the total for March to May 2016 is still substantially higher than the corresponding period last year, it pointed out.

The additional property rates were announced in the Autumn Statement 2015 for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and in the Scottish Government’s draft 2016/2017 budget for Scotland.

Non-tax factors may have played a role as well, for example the Bank of England’s plans to curb buy to let mortgages resulting in a rush to purchase before April 2016, and the European Union referendum affecting transactions in recent months.

The residential count includes properties paying the main and additional rates. For June 2016 the number of non-adjusted residential transactions was about 21.2% higher compared with May 2016. The number of non-adjusted residential transactions was 11.1% lower than in June 2015.

According to Doug Crawford, chief executive officer of My Home Move, June’s figures show a market returning to health after a very quiet April and May which was due to investors doing business earlier in the year to avoid the stamp duty changes.

“While the number of property transactions remain below the levels seen a year earlier, a 4.9% increase between May and June is very encouraging. My Home Move’s own data suggests that the number of completions in June 2016 was actually 2.7% higher than in June 2015,” he said.

“The June increase shows that the property market mostly shook off the uncertainty from the Brexit referendum at the end of the month. This reflects our experience as most purchases went ahead without any issues. The big question now is what the impact will be for the rest of the year,” he explained.

“While this is less clear, our view is that the fundamentals of the property market are strong enough that there will not be a significant impact. There have been anecdotal reports of a slight slowdown in July from the estate agents we work with, but it is impossible to tell how much of this is actually Brexit related and how much is down to a normal summer slowdown. The picture will only start to be clearer in September after the holiday season,” he said.

Source: Property Wire

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