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HMRC: Highest number of February residential transactions since 2007

The provisional seasonally adjusted estimate of UK residential transactions in February 2021 was 147,050, up 48.5% annually, according to the latest HMRC Property Transaction data.

On a monthly basis the estimate is also up 23%, and these figures are the highest number for the month of February since 2007.

Looking to the estimate of UK non-residential transactions in February 2021, this was up 10.2% year-on-year to 10,630, and 25.8% higher than January 2021.

The non-seasonally adjusted estimate of UK residential transactions in February 2021 was 122,840, 48.3% higher than February 2020 and 26.4% higher than January 2021.

Non-seasonally adjusted non-residential transactions in February 2021 was 9,230, 9.9% higher annually and 27.7% higher than the month prior.

Guy Gittins, chief executive of Chestertons, added: “While there is no doubt that there are a lot of people very keen to move home, many didn’t feel comfortable starting the process until they had some idea of when the country might be out of lockdown.

“Once this was provided, we noticed an immediate uplift in new buyers registering with us, and the subsequent announcement confirming the extension of the stamp duty holiday only added to this.

“As the country emerges from lockdown, we expect moving home will be many people’s top priority; just as we saw after the first lockdown; and are therefore anticipating a very busy spring and summer market.

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“We currently have around 70% more properties on the market for sale than we did last year.

“This is good news for buyers as it means that substantial price increases are relatively unlikely for the time being and that there are generally more homes to choose from.”

David Whittaker, chief executive at Keystone Property Finance, added: “Putting these figures into context, today’s HMRC data looks at property transactions before the stamp duty land tax holiday was extended in the Chancellor’s Budget this March.

“As was speculated at the time, today’s figures confirm many purchases rushed through in February as buyers and sellers took advantage of the tax break.

“The stamp duty holiday presents an excellent opportunity for landlords looking to increase their portfolio and cash in on the tax break, however there are significant challenges to navigate as well. 2020 was a challenging year for the buy-to-let market.

“We saw a raft of regulatory changes in areas from energy rating requirements to mortgage payment tax relief and unprecedented market conditions of surging demand paired with limited capacity while working from home.

“These factors have created an unfamiliar market for even experienced landlords.

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“In these times, it is even more essential that borrowers are seeking broker support and guidance to help them secure the best product available.”

Tomer Aboody, director of property lender MT Finance, also reacted to these figures: “With the strongest housing market in more than a decade, both home buyers and investors are taking advantage of historically low borrowing rates.”These favour both those buying a property to live in and those seeking rental assets for yield, significantly boosting the number of transactions.

“With the extension of the stamp duty break, further buyers have decided that now is the time to buy with a potential saving of up to £15,000 to tempt them.

“This saving, along with high loan-to-values and cheaper mortgages, is making this a sellers’ market, with buyers waiting in the wings to pounce.

“Many are prepared to pay higher prices than the past few years so as not to miss out, which is pushing values even higher.”

By Jake Carter

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Residential transactions remain high as SDLT holiday deadline is approaching

The number of UK residential transactions, on a seasonally adjusted basis, rose by 24.1% between January 2020 and January 2021, according to the latest property transactions data by HMRC.

This annual rise comes as the stamp duty holiday deadline fast approaches on the 31 March.

Despite the annual rise, on a monthly basis the number of residential transactions dropped by 2.4%.

Looking to the number of non-residential transactions in the UK during January, this figure fell 8.2% year-on-year to 8,980.

In addition, between December 2020 and January 2021, the number of non-residential transactions declined by 3.6%.

The provisional non-seasonally adjusted estimate of UK residential transactions in January 2021 was 98,830, 17.9% higher than January 2020 and 25.2% lower than December 2020.

Furthermore, the non-seasonally adjusted estimate of UK non-residential transactions in January 2021 was 7,680, 14.6% lower than January 2020.

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The data also shows that the level non-residential transactions was 28.0% lower than December 2020.

Mike Scott, chief analyst at Yopa, said: “New figures from HMRC show that the number of home purchases completed in January was still very high, as buyers rushed to beat the 31 March stamp duty deadline.

“We expect that the number of purchases will remain very high until March, and then drop off for a few months before returning to normal.

“The year as a whole is likely to see a higher number of purchases than in recent years, perhaps as high as 1.3 million.

“The housing market has remained open during the recent and current lockdowns, but many people are still waiting for life to return closer to normal before they make their next move.

“After a brief slowdown in the second quarter after the stamp duty holiday ends, we anticipate a very active housing market in the second half of this year.”

David Whittaker, chief executive of Keystone Property Finance, added: “Today’s figures suggest that home buyers who are unlikely to make the stamp duty holiday deadline are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to purchases, delaying applications until the Chancellor providers greater clarity over the future of the tax holiday.

“However, despite the uncertainty, second properties are making up a significant proportion of the continued rising demand.

“Data from Hamptons International reveals second home sales increased by 58% in January 2021 compared to the same month last year.

“This follows a period of buoyancy in the buy-to-let market as landlords look to expand their portfolios, while taking advantage of an increasing number of buy-to-let products on the market.

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“However, being a landlord brings with it a series of challenges, not least the recent and upcoming regulatory and tax changes.

“Qualified advice from mortgage brokers is crucial in helping landlords to navigate the market and access the right mortgage for their unique circumstances.”

Nick Barnes, head of research at Chestertons, said: “Following a record December, the sales market has maintained momentum throughout January 2021.

“Compared to January last year, Chestertons registered 9% more instructions, indicating that sellers remain keen to move home.

“This is further highlighted by a 47% year-on-year increase in properties currently on the market.

“Equally, we have agreed 27% more sales, largely driven by house hunters rushing to meet the stamp duty holiday deadline but also possibly reflecting a desire to beat any potential shutting down of the housing market as proposed by the Labour party.

“In spite of lockdown restrictions, there are still plenty of households who are keen to move, which is further boosted by the roll-out of the vaccine.

“Boris Johnson’s announcement of the slow easing of lockdown restrictions might bring a new spark to the housing market as people are eager to return to some form of normality.

“So far in February, Chestertons has seen a 73% increase in sales compared to the same period in February 2020.”

By Jake Carter

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Residential transactions up 21.3% month-on-month

Property transactions increased by 21.3% from August to September, HMRC statistics show.

Following the rise they are slightly lower (0.7%) than September last year.

Alan Cleary, managing director for mortgages at OneSavings Bank, said: “Housing transactions continued to recover strongly in September which is great news for the market.

“At close to 100,000, the number of transactions was similar to a year earlier and in line with the monthly average in recent years.”

“With mortgage approvals for house purchase having risen to their highest levels since before the 2008 financial crisis, housing transactions are likely to rise further in the coming months as borrowing costs look set to remain at historically low levels.

“Bolstered by the government’s additional measures to support employment and boost demand during the winter months, housing market activity seems likely to strengthen further in the period immediately ahead.”

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John Phillips, national operations director, Just Mortgages and Spicerhaart said: “Numbers are higher than any of us expected to see and volume is consistently high across the country, surprisingly the South East and London are slightly quieter.

“The one downside has been the lack of lenders offering high LTV mortgages. There are still thousands of clients with 10% deposits who are safe investments and they are currently being blocked from owning a home.

“The market needs a steady supply of these products to support current applicants. Brokers are not concerned about service level agreements being stretched, delivering for the client is more important, timing is not the issue. If lenders can fix that, we expect the demand to continue for the rest of 2020.”

John Goodall, chief executive of specialist buy-to-let lender, Landbay, said: “The market both in buy-to-let and in residential is much more buoyant than any of us expected back in May.

“September has bounced back strongly and is now exceeding the strong levels of demand that we saw at the start of the year.

“We are seeing many landlords anticipating an increase in rental demand as it gets harder for people to get on the property ladder due to increasing unemployment and the reduction in high LTV mortgages.

“I expect this rise in numbers to continue into early 2021 as people rush to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday.”


Source: Property Wire

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HMRC: Residential transactions see monthly increase of 15.6%

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.

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“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.

“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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HMRC: Housing transactions rise in January

Housing activity increased on both a yearly and monthly basis in January, HMRC statistics show.

In January 2020 there were 102,810 residential transactions on a seasonally adjusted basis, 5.2% more than the same month last year and 4.1% more than December 2019.

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, said: “Transactions are always a better indicator of market activity than more volatile house prices. HMRC’s report is the latest in a series of recent surveys telling a familiar story – release of pent-up demand began even before the election, which we’ve noticed in our offices too.

“The increase in transaction numbers is particularly striking as they reflect sales which were agreed mainly in September and October. If they are like this now, numbers are set to be even stronger as we approach the peak spring-buying season.

“However, the strength of any recovery will probably depend on whether enough properties become available at realistic prices for buyers taking advantage of improved affordability.

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“The market remains price sensitive so buyers will not pay tomorrow’s prices today.”

Joseph Daniels, founder of offsite eco developer Project Etopia, said: “The UK is finally exhibiting some get-up-and-go in terms of sales volumes.

“This is the second month in a row that the market has chalked up annual growth on a seasonally adjusted basis, and the second month in a row that the total has smashed through the 100,000 mark.

“The rate of growth also remains impressive, coming in at 5.2% for January, following 6.8% year on year growth in December. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis the annual growth rate last month hit 12.7%.”

Daniels added: “This is great news long term for first-time buyers and the wider house building industry but it needs to be sustained.

“No flash-in-the-pan rise in sales volumes is going to fix the problem of low housing stock in Britain and these green shoots need to bloom into a lasting recovery.

“The level of transactions has been down the road to ruin over the past 10 years and had fallen annually for eight straight months prior to December on a seasonally adjusted basis, but at least they now seem to be back in the ascendency.”


Source: Property Wire