Residential property transactions fall 46.1% in a month

The provisional seasonally adjusted estimate of UK property transactions for April was 46,440 residential and 5,930 non-residential, new figures published by HMRC has revealed.

The latest update from HMRC suggested April’s estimate of 46,440 residential property transactions was 46.1% lower than March, and 53.4% lower than April 2019.

The estimate of 5,930 non-residential property transactions in April also reflected a large drop from the same month last year, down 45.2% from April 2019. This figure was a 22.0% fall from the number reported by HMRC for March.

Phoebus Software sales and marketing director, Richard Pike, described the latest data from HMRC as “unsurprisingly stark”, and suggested they paint a picture of how the housing market was affected by the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

“However, now that the market is once again ‘open for business’, even in a small way, it is likely that these figures will start to creep up in the coming months,” Pike commented.

“We have already seen that remortgage activity remained steady during lockdown, as borrowers looked ahead to try to save money, and some of the transactions that were put on hold are likely to be moving forward now.
“Unfortunately, we do have the spectre of recession that cannot be ignored.  So any enthusiasm we have that things are getting back to normal will also be tempered with the inevitable caution, which has become a pattern for our market in recent years.”

Just Mortgages national operations director, John Phillips, added: “In recent weeks we have started to see the sector returning to work and the early evidence is that activity is rapidly rising again.

“Just as with Brexit, people are fed up with having their lives put on hold and now the restrictions on movement are being eased, I believe we will see many people anxious to get on with long-planned house moves.

“As people have got used to remote working, there may even be a boost with more people looking to up sticks and live further away from their usual place of work. There is still a long way to go before this crisis is over but I’m confident that we are through the worst.”

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