Property sales in UK confirm housing market is moving ahead steadily
Residential property sales in the UK increased by 1.7% between September and October 2017, some 9.2% higher than the same month in 2016, official figures show. The data from HMRC also shows that there were 105,260 residential sales and 11,280 non-residential sales. It is more evidence that the property market is progressing at a steady pace despite political and economic uncertainty and the decision to leave the European Union with Brexit having no impact.
Stephen Wasserman, managing director of West One Loans, pointed out that stamp duty hikes have had more of an impact on the housing market and believes that further change to the property tax paid by buyers could boost the market.
‘The uptick in property transactions demonstrates the underlying stability of the sector, and is a positive message to the market ahead of Wednesday’s Budget, which is expected to be largely housing focussed,’ he said.
‘It will take some time for the market to fully recover from the upheaval of stamp duty hikes and economic uncertainty caused by Brexit negotiations, but if Hammond scraps stamp duty for first time buyers, as it’s rumoured he may do so, we could see the market grow at a faster rate,’ he added.
According to Shaun Church, director at mortgage broker Private Finance, while there have been no impressive monthly increases in the number of property transactions this year, annual comparisons are favourable. ‘Transaction levels are also now back to where they were before the stamp duty changes which came as a shock to the system in 2016,’ he explained.
‘High demand for housing and low mortgage rates will continue support activity in the long term, but for a markedly improved performance next year issues surrounding property supply and the stamp duty system must be addressed. The industry will be hopeful that tomorrow’s Budget unveils decisive action on these two fronts,’ he added.