Residential transactions
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Residential transactions saw a monthly increase of 15.6% in August according to the latest UK Property Transactions Statistics by HMRC.

Despite the monthly increase, year-on-year the figures show that the August figures (81,280) are 16.3% lower than August 2019.

There were 8,350 non-residential transactions in August, which is a yearly decrease of 15.5% and monthly increase of 7.5%.

HMRC’s data reveals that the residential transactions for Q2 was the lowest quarterly total since Q1 2009 following impact from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mark Harris, chief executive of SPF Private Clients, said: “Despite only being introduced the previous month, the stamp duty holiday was already filtering through to transaction numbers in August as buyers rushed to take advantage of the saving.

“Despite the recovery in number of transactions compared with the previous month, the pandemic has had a significant impact on the market with August’s numbers down significantly on last year’s.

“The data illustrates just how long it takes for property transactions to complete and at the moment, with some lenders struggling with service levels, along with surveyors and lawyers, it is all taking longer than it usually would.

“Buyers need to be patient, as well as engage good advisers who can help steer the transaction through in as prompt a fashion as possible.”

Alan Cleary, managing director for mortgages at OneSavings Bank, added: “After a rocky start to the year, the continued uptick in activity is not only good for the market, but for buyers and sellers who are finally making progress with their property plans.

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“People on both sides want to make the most of low borrowing costs and the temporary removal of stamp duty which for now at least is helping to bolster the market.

“However, as we head into the often quieter months of the year, the uncertainty around the UK economy could mean that the strong levels of activity leading up to this point may start to wane.”

Jeremy Leaf, a former RICS chairman, believes that the market is showing determination to get transactions through.

Leaf said: ‘Transactions are a better barometer of market health than more volatile house prices.

“Although a little historic, and there is a delay between the point when the sale is agreed and completion, these numbers still demonstrate considerable resilience when we were emerging from the previous lockdown and before the stamp duty holiday could have much impact.

“On the ground, we have noticed no sign of sales collapsing, renegotiating on deals or price reductions in the past few days – more of a determination to carry on.”

By Jessica Nangle

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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