Although figures are still lower by 35.9% than the same period in the previous year which has been mostly accredited to the pandemic, the latest data from HMRC reveals that between May and June this year, residential property transactions climbed to 63,250 – a rise of 31.7%.
Although provisional, these figures highlight how the market had begun to recover following its re-opening in May but suggest it was still being impeded by the effects of the pandemic and lockdown.
The number of non-residential transactions (commercial and other spaces) went up by 31%, rising from 5,600 in May to 7,340 in June.
Richard Pike, sales and marketing director of Phoebus Software said: “Although the figures from HMRC today are provisional, and we are advised to accept them with caution, these are not the only signs that the housing market is on the move again.
“When you add in the Chancellor’s announcement on stamp duty you would hope that this upward trend is set to continue.
“Coming out of lockdown, even with an air of caution, has given many people the impetus to pick up where they left off.
“Whereas for others, especially those who have been living in flats with little or no outside space during lockdown, may be thinking that now is the time to look for a new home.
“All the signs are positive so now it’s up to the lenders to jump into action, while the demand is there.”
Anna Clare Harper, author of Strategic Property Investing, says: “The context of the recent change to stamp duty is making waves through the housing market. The quick implementation and temporary nature of the change, combined with pent-up demand in the housing market, has for obvious reasons resulted in an increase in transactions.
“As with health-related statistics on Covid-19, it;s important not to take the data out of context when looking to the future. It is hardly surprising that the stamp duty change has resulted in a bounce in transactions. However, it is worth noting that this does not give an accurate guide to future trends or any guarantee as to what will happen going forward.”
Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, comments: “Transactions, not more volatile house prices, are always a better indicator of market strength. These figures show activity is moving in the right direction but will clearly take time to be reflected in the figures as we emerge from lockdown and associated restrictions.
“Nevertheless, we have noticed at street level that many buyers and sellers are bringing forward-moving decisions to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday and continuing lower interest rates. There is still concern that improved conditions will be relatively short-lived as economic news deteriorates and furlough support falls away.”