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November residential transactions fall for third consecutive month – HMRC

  • 02/01/2024
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November residential transactions fall for third consecutive month – HMRC
Residential transactions in the UK fell to 80,780 on a seasonally adjusted basis in November, government figures showed.

The HMRC data for the month revealed this was the third month running that transactions declined on a monthly basis. On a seasonally adjusted basis, residential transactions were down by one per cent compared to October. 

On an annual basis, this was 22 per cent lower than the previous year. 

Transactions also slipped by 22 per cent annually on a non-seasonally adjusted basis to 87,640 in November, which was two per cent lower than October. 

HMRC said the level of overall monthly property transactions was similar to early 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic hit the UK. 


An eye on the housing market 

Karen Noye, mortgage expert at Quilter, said the fall in residential transactions pointed to a market “grappling with high mortgage rates and economic uncertainties”. However, with rates now starting to settle Noye said there was a “potential for a gradual recovery”. 

She added: “A critical factor to watch in 2024 will be the impact of sustained mortgage costs on homeowners. An increase in homeowners needing to downsize due to financial pressures could lead to a surge in market listings, potentially causing a more significant drop in house prices.  

“This situation could create both challenges and opportunities in the market, affecting buyers and sellers differently.” 

The HMRC data showed that transactions were significantly lower than last year, which HMRC put down to the stamp duty reduction and pent-up demand. 

Anna Clare Harper, CEO of sustainable investment adviser GreenResi, said: “Ultimately, the 22 per cent fall in housing transactions over the past year, is a logical result of two changes to demand. Firstly, demand has fallen from the artificial buying frenzy created by stamp duty reductions through Covid. Secondly, the higher base rate is designed to cool demand and therefore pricing in the economy, and it is working to plan. 

“Essentially, policy levers have reduced households’ ability and willingness to buy homes. However, policy has no impact on people’s need for a roof over their heads.” 

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, added: “These transaction numbers provide a more accurate representation of market health than prices as they reflect cash and mortgage activity, although they are a little dated. 

“Nevertheless, it’s clear buyers were not as deterred by interest rate and inflation volatility, which was so prevalent a few months ago, as we might have expected.” 

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