According to the latest data from HMRC, the provisional seasonally adjusted UK property transaction count for January 2016 was 105,940 Ã¢€â€œ down 2.8% from 109,020 in December 2015.
On an annual basis, this month’s seasonally adjusted figure is 9.7% higher compared with January 2015 (96,600)
For January 2016 the number of non-adjusted residential transactions was about 27.5% lower compared with December 2015
Andy Sommerville, Director of Search Acumen, comments: “Although residential transactions have experienced a slight dip in January 2016 from December, the number of transactions are still notably higher than the same time last year, an indication that while the market may be jittery due to global uncertainty in the short term, we’re in a much better position than in January 2015.
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t brace ourselves for a buy to let surge before April though and the full picture of the government’s intervention into buy to let is likely to reveal itself at the end of the first quarter.
While lack of affordability and housing supply remain a key issue, this month-on-month dip should be seen in the wider context of uncertainty around Brexit and turbulent stock markets at the beginning of the year.”
Brian Murphy, Head of Lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB), comments: “Strong market conditions prompted a solid annual increase in the number of residential transactions this January, despite the typical monthly fall from December as activity from buyers and sellers tapered off after the end of the year .
While house prices have risen over the past year, buyers have been supported by moderate increases in average incomes, all time low mortgage rates and a strong appetite among lenders to lend. Mortgage Advice Bureau’s latest National Mortgage Index* shows that consumers could choose between the highest number of mortgage products since January 2008, providing them with plenty of options to suit their personal needs.
Despite the fact that rising prices have clearly not put a dampener on activity, policymakers need to work hard to ensure that the market is accessible for first-time buyers and borrowers on modest incomes. While conditions are good for those who can meet affordability criteria and raise a deposit, it is important to ensure that a diverse range of prospective buyers are supported in accessing the housing market.”
Andrew Bridges, managing director of Stirling Ackroyd comments: “Even as the housing market builds a head of steam, there isn’t as much movement as might be hoped for.
Our capital is a case in point. London’s property market has gallons of untapped potential. Yet a lack of supply is pushing people to stay put for longer, reducing the flow of homes onto the market. London’s rising population will only worsen this supply shortfall. And this rising tide of people is coupled with shrinking households, alongside ageing housing stock that no longer matches up with modern life. Our research shows that fewer people are living in London’s homes – the average household is likely to include just 2.3 people per home by 2020. This means even more homes are needed on the market. New builds are a crucial component of this. But refurbishment, renewal and motion matter too. The property market must keep people moving, downsizing and relocating.
Escalating stamp duty charges are largely responsible for this slowdown – deterring people from a change of scenery. These charges now apply to nearly every residential transaction in London. So new measures or more effort from the Government are needed to encourage moving – and wake the London property market out of its current slumber.”