Residential property sales rise for fourth consecutive month: HMRC

Sales continue to rise in 2024 and are now 10% higher than April 2023

Related topics:  Transactions,  Property,  HMRC
Warren Lewis | Editor, Barcadia Media Limited
31st May 2024
House for sale sign sold
"While these numbers are positive, the housing market still lacks some much-needed pizzaz"
- Gareth Lewis - MT Finance

Seasonally adjusted residential transactions in April show a fourth consecutive month-on-month increase, rising 5% from 86,420 in March 2024 to 90,430 in April 2024, according to the latest HMRC statistics

Non-seasonally adjusted residential transactions fell by 9% in April 2024 relative to March 2024. Seasonally adjusted residential transactions are 10% higher than in April 2023. This increase in residential transactions in April 2024 coincides with the reduction in the higher rate of Capital Gains Tax for disposals of residential property.

Seasonally adjusted non-residential transactions in April increased by 3% relative to March 2024. Non-seasonally adjusted non-residential transactions decreased by 7% relative to March 2024. Seasonally adjusted non-residential transactions are 4% higher than in April 2023.

Tom Bill, head of UK residential research at Knight Frank commented: “Transaction volumes picked up thanks to more listings, particularly in the early weeks of the year when inflation forecasts were more optimistic. Sales were still 12% below their five-year average but should hold up this year despite the July election. We expect average UK prices to rise by 3% in 2024 as a rate cut moves onto the horizon this summer.”

Andrew Lloyd, Managing Director at Search Acumen, comments: “Early signs that both transaction numbers and property prices are stabilising will give residential and commercial pundits fuel for a busy summer ahead, undeterred by the forthcoming election.

"Many would safely predict an uptick in current residential transaction numbers across May and June as consumer confidence stabilises. Likewise, we could see a more immediate boost to commercial real estate deals if interest rates decline come the next Bank of England decision on June 20th. An overall sentiment of hope is tangible across the industry right now.

“More broadly, macroeconomic volatility and currency risk exposure will be leading drivers in investor activity across commercial real estate markets for the rest of the year. Favourable exchange rates may incentivise global investors to make a move; just as lower interest rate environments and significantly decreased inflation can unlock deals.

"Currently, we’re in a ten-year low in commercial real estate lending, in which low overall transaction volumes in real estate equity markets, together with valuation uncertainties, points to a risk-averse market. Technology and automation represent a small, but ever-increasing advantage when transactions need to move fast against this economic backdrop, and something we’re seeing brokers and lawyers increasingly use to their advantage for clients right across the board.”

Gareth Lewis, managing director of property lender MT Finance, says: “Transaction numbers are improving, showing that people are willing to buy property. The increase is not astronomical by any stretch of the imagination but it’s a positive sign because the market is moving in the right direction.

“However, to really see some improvement will require some sort of stimulus. It will be interesting to see what emerges from the political parties over the coming weeks in terms of what they are looking to achieve if they win the election.

"The housing market needs to be driven forward because it is so important to the overall health of the economy.

“While these numbers are positive, the housing market still lacks some much-needed pizzaz."

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman says: “Transaction numbers, which of course include mortgaged and cash sales, always provide a much more comprehensive barometer of property market health than house prices.

"Despite reflecting activity of a few months ago, when there were heightened concerns about mortgage payments and inflation, considerable resilience has prevailed, which we are also seeing on the ground.

“In particular, the stronger employment picture means prospective homeowners are less concerned about the cost of mortgages than perhaps they were last year.”

Amy Reynolds, head of sales at Richmond estate agency Antony Roberts, says: “The sunshine brings with it the deals and there has been an increase in offers as the weather has improved.

“Activity has increased as the year has gone on, with a significant uplift in viewings. Well-finished properties are capturing the most attention from buyers, as they worry about uncertain costs when it comes to refurbishment work and the challenge of finding the right builder.

“Even the prospect of an imminent general election is not putting buyers and sellers off."

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