"The housing market remains quite stable, despite the current political and economic uncertainty, and we expect it to set the tone for the year as a whole."
HMRC figures show that the number of residential transactions totalled 101,170 in January 2019 - a monthly rise of 0.8% and an increase of 1.3% compared to January 2018.
Year-on-year, non-adjusted residential transactions in January 2019 were approximately 0.9% higher than January 2018.
Mike Scott, chief property analyst at Yopa, commented: HMRC's figures for house sales in January give us one of the first indications of the state of the housing market in 2019, and they are showing a 1.3% increase in the number of houses sold compared with January 2018.
"This suggests that the housing market remains quite stable, despite the current political and economic uncertainty, and we expect it to set the tone for the year as a whole, with around 1.2 million home sales in the whole of 2019, as there have been in every year since 2013. This level of activity is consistent with a steady market, neither booming nor crashing, so house prices should continue to rise slowly during the year, roughly in line with wage increases."
Brian Murphy, head of lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau, said: “The figures released from HMRC this morning reporting on the number of residential property transactions last month suggest a slight increase year on year, but looking at the adjusted figures, it’s still at a lower level than the same period in 2017 and 2016.
"However, these are completions and therefore based on sales that would have been agreed in late October or early November. Looking back at the headlines in the latter part of last year, to see such a steady number of transactions which have gone on to complete last month does provide an indication of the resilience of the market, particularly given the ongoing political and economic uncertainty.
"With the current benign lending climate meaning that borrowers seeking a mortgage for purchase have access to products which are at or near to historic-lows, together with many areas of the UK seeing continued sales activity, one might suggest that although we’re yet to see a spring surge in terms of the housing market, it’s still ticking over at a healthy and, many would suggest steady, level which given the current headwinds is positive to see.”
Jonathan Harris, director of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, added: "January tends to be one of the quieter months for the housing market and the month just gone has proved to be no different. That said, the market is holding up remarkably well considering what it’s up against with ongoing Brexit uncertainty affecting buyer and seller confidence.
"As we near some resolution one way or another, this will be a huge help and may finally persuade those putting decisions on hold to take the plunge."