Property transactions fall 63% in July: HMRC

Rozi Jones
24th August 2021
Sold 205
"We might not be witnessing the dizzying heights reached over the past few months, but property transactions are still up year on year."

Residential property transactions in July were 62.8% lower than in June, and 4.2% higher than July 2020, according to the latest statistics from HMRC.

This compares to the huge surge of demand that the HMRC reported in June this year as transactions more than doubled from June 2020.

Chris Hutchinson, CEO of rental platform Canopy, commented: “Ordinary trends in the housing market have been significantly skewed by the pandemic, which has driven a release of pent-up demand, a ‘race for space’, and an artificial inflation of house prices triggered by the temporary stamp duty holiday. But with lockdown restrictions now lifting, the heat is coming out of the market and demand is beginning to ease. However, house prices remain unusually high and, for hopeful first-time buyers, securing an affordable mortgage in this environment remains a challenge.

“We should be helping renters get credit-ready throughout their renting journey, giving them a head-start if they want to get on the housing ladder later in life. Making rent payments count towards people’s credit score can build financial security, which can be the difference being denied or accepted a good mortgage down the line. The government should be supporting more long-term solutions if truly wants to turn Generation Rent into Generation Buy.”

Sam Mitchell, CEO of online estate agent Strike, said: “We might not be witnessing the dizzying heights reached over the past few months, but property transactions are still up year on year.

“People may be questioning how the property market will cope now that the stamp duty holiday is winding down, but demand is still far greater than prior to the pandemic. Smaller properties below the £250,000 stamp duty holiday limit are partly driving this, and there’s also the ongoing trend of homeowners looking for more space and opting for regional locations over city commuter belts. Especially now that many companies are making it clear that hybrid working is here to stay.

“And let’s not forget that other incentives are still at play to make it easier for people to access the market, like the increased availability of 95% mortgages and the seemingly never-ending low interest rates. And who knows, the government may have something else hidden up their sleeve to introduce once the stamp duty holiday tapering off period ends in September.”

Anna Clare Harper, CEO of property consultancy SPI Capital, added: "Housing transactions are important because they drive house prices, which both reflect and affect our confidence, and the economy.

"Transactions were 62.8% lower in July compared with the previous month, though still 4.2% higher than July last year. This huge monthly fall in transactions is no surprise or concern, as it reflects the stepping down of the temporary reduction in stamp duty. Investors, homeowners, solicitors and banks pushed hard to get transactions done in time for buyers to complete before the end of June to make the most of this temporary relief.

"Housing is unique in that it is ‘essential’, and banks are happy to lend at a very low cost to potential buyers, which affects what we can expect next in terms of housing transactions.

"Unlike in the stock market or cryptocurrencies, people don’t tend to sell at a lower price than they paid unless they really need to. Interest rates (and therefore mortgage repayments) remain very low, especially for homeowners, so it’s unlikely that we see a widespread sell-off any time soon. Transactions are likely to slow down, because many homeowners won't need to sell. This means an ongoing shortage of housing stock, which in turn means prices are expected to continue to grow."

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