"After fairly positive figures in October, what’s happening at the property market coalface has caught up with transaction numbers"
The number of residential property transactions increased by 0.1% between October and November on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the latest figures from HMRC.
At 100,930 residential transactions, November’s seasonally adjusted figure is 0.5% lower compared with the same month last year.
However non-adjusted residential transactions were approximately 5.0% higher than October 2018 and 7.5% higher than in November 2017.
Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and former RICS residential chairman, commented: "After fairly positive figures in October, what’s happening at the property market coalface has caught up with transaction numbers, which are in any event a little historic. As always, transactions are a better indicator of market strength than more volatile prices. The results show buyers and sellers getting on with moves but transactions are inevitably taking longer as they come to terms with new market realities.
"In 2019 the big question will be whether continuing supply shortages, improving affordability, very low unemployment, mortgage rates and supporting prices will prevail over political uncertainty. We are already seeing signs of many getting fed up with waiting so anticipate a fairly similar, subdued, market in the first few months of the year."
Mike Scott, chief property analyst at Yopa, added: "HMRC’s figures for the number of house sales in November show a slight slowdown after last month, with a 0.5% drop in the number of residential properties sold compared with November 2017. This is a stronger figure than we have seen for most of the year, which in general had bigger annual decreases, but is not as good as October’s year-on-year 1.7% increase over 2017.
"The total number of house sales for 2018 will end up being just under 1.2 million, which is 2 to 3% down on the figures recorded in each of the previous four years, but still well ahead of the 858,000 sales in 2009 at the height of the credit crunch and far behind the figures of over 1.6 million from both 2006 and 2007 during the housing boom. We are still in a normal housing market, and we see no sign of it tipping over to either boom or bust in 2019."