Property sales in the UK during January increased by 1.3% month-on-month, hitting 102,610 transactions says HMRC, but down 0.1% year on year.
These figures, which are seasonally adjusted to take account of the Christmas shutdown, are for all residential sales over £40,000.
“Property transactions have remained stagnant for quite some time now,” says Richard Sexton, Director of e.surv (pictured, left).
“Although our latest research showed one-fifth of mortgage approvals went to first-time buyers last month, if we are to see a real boost in numbers and overall market activity, we need to address our country’s limited housing supply which is acting as a roadblock.”
Jeremy Duncombe, Director, Legal & General Mortgage Club, (pictured, right) says: “It is clear that a lack of housing supply across the UK continues to take its toll on the market.
“Not only is it having an impact on potential borrowers who want to make their first move onto the property ladder, but it’s also limiting the options available to those who are looking to downsize in later life.”
But HMRC’s detailed figures also reveal that, despite much commentary from agents about a difficult market in London and the South, overall UK transactions have been increasing each month, albeit slowly.
A year and a half ago the seasonally-adjusted monthly transaction figures stood at 97,110 compared to today, an increase of 5.3%.
But there’s a long way to go before the market achieves the heady days before the 2007/8 financial crash when 140,000 properties were sold each month.
The property market’s flatlining is in part down to the HMRC’s recent Stamp Duty tax take on higher-value homes and landlords, although it’s helping swell government coffers.
The total duty collected from residential property transactions increased by 16% year on year during 2017 to £9.56 billion.