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Property purchase market in holding pattern as mortgage lenders cut rates – HMRC

  • 22/01/2019
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HMRC figures out today show the seasonal dip in December was only 0.1% down on the previous month but a nudge up on the previous year, despite lack of confidence from buyers driven by Brexit uncertainty.


There were 102,330 residential property transactions in December 2018.

However, housing transactions have been a nudge over or below the 1m mark annually for several years showing Brexit has dampened, but not destabilised the market.

In 2013-14 in England, transactions were 977,510 against 985, 630 in 2016 -17 and 1,024, 850 last year. However, In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland transactions have all risen slightly over the same period.

Overall, UK transactions rose slightly from 2016-17 to last year, to total 1,208, 010 with no seasonal adjustment.

Kevin Roberts, director, Legal and General Mortgage Club said transaction levels continue to tell the same story of stagnation.

“Political uncertainty, the cost of moving and barriers such as stamp duty are leading some homeowners to ‘improve, not move,” he added.

“The Government’s extension of the Help to Buy scheme and a stamp duty exemption to shared ownership properties will help those further down the ladder, yet there is more work to be done. Extending this break to last-time buyers would free up larger properties for growing families, enabling the next generation of homebuyers to step onto or even up the property ladder.”

Craig McKinlay, new business director at Kensington Mortgages, said: “It’s usual for transactions to be subdued at the end of the year, as people wind down for the festive period. However, the continued stagnation is a sign of the political instability we’re experiencing, and this stagnation is affecting buyers and homeowners on every rung of the property ladder.”

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: “Lenders started this year the way they finished the last one – keen to lend and offering some competitive products to encourage borrowers to take the plunge.”

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