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UK house sales stronger than normal in August – Rightmove

August, normally a quiet month for Britain’s property market, has seen a surge in sales, possibly due to buyers seeking to conclude transactions before the country leaves the European Union on Oct. 31, property website Rightmove said on Monday.

Rightmove said sales in the August period, which cover the four weeks to Aug. 10, were 6.1% higher than a year earlier and their strongest for the month since 2015, bucking a generally sluggish trend since June 2016’s referendum on leaving the European Union.

“While the end of October Brexit outcome remains uncertain, more buyers are now going for the certainty of doing a deal, with some having perhaps hesitated earlier in the year,” Rightmove director Miles Shipside said.

New Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised to take Britain out of the EU by Oct. 31, even if that means leaving without a transition deal – something most economists think will cause major disruption to businesses and overseas trade.

But British consumers have largely shrugged off Brexit worries so far, bolstered by a strong labour market and the fastest increases in wages in 11 years, in contrast to businesses, which have held back from making major investments.

House price inflation has slowed since June 2016, according to official figures. But this has largely been driven by price falls in London and surrounding areas, which have been most affected by higher property taxes on expensive housing and fears of post-Brexit job losses in the financial services sector.

Rightmove said asking prices on its website were down 1.0% on the previous month – a smaller fall than normal for August, when many buyers are away on holiday – while prices were 1.2% higher than a year earlier.

Sales rose fastest in northeast and eastern England, and the biggest fall in asking prices was in southeast England excluding London.

Rightmove based its data on more than 130,000 prices collected between July 7 and Aug. 10 from its website, which it says advertises 90% of residential property on sale in Britain.

Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

Source: UK Reuters

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UK house sales plummet in June, held back by Brexit ‘ball and chain’

House sales crashed 16.5 per cent in June, as the property market took a “wait-and-see” attitude to transactions amid Brexit uncertainty.

Monthly HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) figures showed British residential property sales fell to 84,490, more than one-sixth down on the same period last year.

The figure represents a 9.6 per cent monthly drop between May and June this year.

Analysts were quick to point out the figures are reported with several months’ lag, meaning the transactions relayed are those accepted in March.

Benham and Reeves director Marc von Grundherr said: “With many of us, perhaps foolishly, believing we would be exiting the EU at the end of March, it stands to reason that the vast majority of buyers may have refrained from a sale until this event had passed.

“Therefore any dip in transactions should be viewed as a momentary stutter and with many other market indicators suggesting a return to form and growing levels of buyer demand over the last few months, we should start to see the number of properties being sold climb from here on in.”

Non-residential transactions were also down 7.2 per cent month-on-month.

‘A fragile market landscape’
Springbok Properties founder Shepherd Ncube added: “A lull in transactions will come as a cause for concern in what is currently a rather fragile market landscape, however, the broader picture simply doesn’t suggest a market that is on its knees.

“Homebuyer appetite is alive and well and while many may not want to fill up on bread until the main course of Brexit is finally served, we are on course to see a healthy level of properties transact this year regardless.

Joseph Daniels, founder of modular developer Project Etopia, added: “Sales volumes have walked off a cliff, crashing hard as the Brexit deadlock becomes the ball and chain fixing the housing market to the spot.

“What you’re seeing is a wait-and-see attitude among sellers and many buyers becoming endemic.”

By Alex Daniel

Source: City AM

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Million-pound UK house sales hit a new high in 2017 – but London was not the region with the fastest growth

The number of properties which sold for more than a million pounds hit a record high last year, according to Lloyds Bank Private Banking – but London was not the region with the highest growth.

Instead, Yorkshire and the Humber saw the sale of million-pound homes rocket by 60 per cent compared to the year before, while the capital experienced a mere one per cent climb.

Across the whole country, the number climbed by five per cent as 14,474 homes worth more than a million pounds were sold.

“As always, the highest number of transactions took place in the capital last year. However growth in London has started to slow for million pound properties,” said Louise Santaana, head of UK wealth lending at Lloyds Banking Group.

“Overseas investors represent a good share of this end of the London market and some may be holding off buying, pending further clarity over Brexit.”

She added that 2018 would be an “interesting year” for the million-pound property market, as government consultation on ways to improve the house-buying process could make “high-end homeowners more empowered to engage in property transactions”.

But counteracting this could be the high cost of stamp duty, especially for people looking to invest in property rather than buying somewhere to live.

The East Midlands was the only place to see lower numbers of million-pound homes sold last year, with a 23 per cent drop to just 72 transactions.

Source: City A.M.