Residential transactions return to 2019 figures: HMRC

The number of UK residential property transactions rose to 98,010 in September, just 0.7% below September 2019's total, according to the latest figures from HMRC.

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Rozi Jones
21st October 2020
House sale sold
"The temporary changes to stamp duty designed to boost confidence in the housing market have worked well to achieve this goal."

Seasonally adjusted transaction figures are also 21.3% higher than August 2020.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, residential transactions totalled 101,920 in September 2020 - 2.4% higher than September 2019 and 20.7% higher than August 2020.

Joshua Elash, director of MT Finance, commented: "The market continues to bounce back. An uptick in transactions from August across the property market points clearly to the positive impact of the Chancellor’s stamp duty initiatives as well as the continued confidence held by home owners and investors alike in the solidity of the market as a whole.

"The fact that the figures in relation to both residential and non-residential transaction volumes are only slightly down when compared to September 2019 is hugely significant. Confidence and demand have held strong after months of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"As long as there is not a sudden and sharp tightening of credit criteria, which would adversely impact on liquidity, there has to be an ever increasing confidence in this market’s ability to ride this pandemic out without a significant adverse adjustment."

Anna Clare Harper, CEO of asset manager SPI Capital, added: "HMRC’s figures are of interest as they represent a more complete picture than comparable indices. What’s interesting about the September 2020 data is that transaction volumes are on a par with transactions in September 2019.

"This suggests that the temporary changes to stamp duty designed to boost confidence in the housing market have worked well to achieve this goal. There are very few sectors where buyers and sellers feel as confident as they did in September 2019.

"What happens next will be a reflection of policy and economics. Trade bodies such as RICS, as well as government policy makers, will play a significant role in the future of the housing market, as they have in the story that has played out so far in 2020.

"For potential home buyers and investors, the key will be not taking on too much credit, despite the relatively cheap cost of debt at present, as it is very difficult to forecast what will happen next."

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