Residential property transactions remained stagnant in April but increased slightly on last year’s figures, latest official data has shown.
In its UK property transactions statistics report released today (May 21), HM Revenue & Customs estimated 99,420 residential and 11,300 non-residential transactions were made in April.
April’s seasonally adjusted residential figure saw a slight drop on the previous month — 0.3 per cent — but increased by 0.8 per cent on the same month the previous year.
The findings reflect last week’s (May 16) figures from UK Finance, which showed the number of consumers borrowing to buy a new property in March was down across first-time buyers, home-movers and buy-to-let purchases when compared with last year.
According to today’s report, non-residential transactions were up on March’s figure by 9.5 per cent and increased by 7.1 per cent compared to last year.
Kevin Roberts, director at Legal & General Mortgage Club, said the figures showed that despite government schemes and greater innovation in the mortgage market, property transactions continued to stagnate.
He said: “To really see a boost, we need to fix our country’s imbalance between supply and demand by building more homes. Not only for first-time buyers, but across all housing tenures – young and old, renters and homeowners.
“As an industry, we are working to provide the solutions needed but we also need to ensure the government is increasing supply and making the UK housing market accessible for all.”
But Joshua Elash, director of property lender MT Finance, said it came as no surprise to see transaction numbers dropping month-on-month in the residential space.
He said he expected this trend to continue while uncertainty over Brexit continued to impact the market for consumers and while “overly aggressive tax treatment” continued to dampen investor activity and appetite in the buy-to-let market.
Meanwhile head of lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau, Brian Murphy, said the figures demonstrated a level of consistency in the market.
Mr Murphy added: “While the number of sales last month doesn’t equate to a ‘spring surge’ by any means and is down slightly on the previous month, equally they potentially point to a degree of resilience in the face of ongoing political headwinds.
“[The figures] indicate that the market continues to turn over steadily, rather than any dramatic peaks and troughs, which many may suggest is no bad thing.”
By Imogen Tew
Source: FT Adviser