The HMRC data showed the seasonally adjusted total of 100,850 transactions was up 4.6% on September 2016, but this level has plateaued for much of the year following a notable jump in January. (Click graph to expand.)
On a non-adjusted basis, residential transactions were about 6.8% lower compared with August and 1.2% higher than in September 2016.
Industry commentators agreed the static number of transactions was largely due to a lack of housing supply and needed a concerted effort to be addressed fully.
E.surv director Richard Sexton (pictured) said: “Although numbers remain level, there hasn’t been exceptional growth. The shortage of housing supply is clearly acting as a roadblock to transactions.
“In order to answer this, a common goal needs to be agreed by the government and those within the housing industry to build more affordable housing.
“The latest announcements by Sajid Javid are a step in the right direction and with the consultation underway, now is the time for mortgage lenders, house builders, developers and the government to work together to create an accessible housing market for all.”
Legal & General Mortgage Club director Jeremy Duncombe echoed these thoughts about the trend this year as homeowners choose to stay put.
“With no real incentive or boost for house building, supply remains subdued and buyer activity remains sluggish,” he said.
“The only way we will see transaction numbers grow is with an injection of activity into the housebuilding sector that has to be led by No 10.
“It’s great that housing is a key issue for this government, but only time will tell if they can deliver on their promises. Otherwise, intergenerational inequality in the housing market will continue to rise, with Generation Rent struggling to become Generation Buy.”
OneSavings Bank sales director Adrian Moloney added: “Property transactions may be down in the last month but, discounting the Stamp Duty spike last year, activity remains broadly on a par with the levels seen since Q3 2013.
“Nevertheless with a growing population, standing still might as well be moving backwards, so we would like to see more signs that transactions are rising, and supply is stretching that bit further to meet demand.”