The volume of residential property transactions has dropped by 12.4% compared to a year ago as they continue their three-year-long decline since the EU referendum, figures from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) purport to show.
Its monthly index also reveals that property transactions dropped by a seasonally adjusted 8.4% between June and July, revealing how economic and financial uncertainty continues to bite into home buyer confidence. This is in contrast to May when its figures showed transactions were ‘holding steady’.
Paul Smith, CEO of Haart, has blamed the figures on the new government’s stamp duty flip-flopping.
“The recent rumours regarding changes to Stamp Duty Land Tax are promising and sorely needed to support transactions, but continued speculation and backtracking by Government isn’t helping general confidence,” he says.
But the MD Of a leading mortgage brokers has predicted that the next set of figures could show a pre-Brexit bounce.
“It may even be that residential property transactions pick back up in August and September, as a lot of prospective buyers are wary that house prices could rebound if no-deal proves not to be the end-of-days scenario many predict,” says Andrew Montlake of broker Coreco.
But the figures have also been questioned by a leading economist.
Not only do they often contradict the Land Registry’s separate transactions figures but, says economist Ruper Seggins (left), they are sometimes revised afterwards.
“As pretty widely suspected – there’s something really off with the most recent data points on HMRC’s property transactions stats,” he said on Twitter, where he also claimed that HMRC last month said that transactions were down by 25% year on year but later revised this to 13.4%.