House slowdown. Really ?

The number of property transactions saw a monthly decrease of 3.2% between March and April 2017, the latest statistics from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) reveal.

In April, the seasonally adjusted figure was 20.3% higher compared with the same month in 2016 and the number of non-adjusted residential transactions was 22.5% lower compared to March.

The total UK property transaction count for April 2017 was 99,910 residential and 9,980 non-residential transactions.

The report by HMRC avoided direct comparisons of residential transactions between April 2017 and 2016 due to the “unusually low level of transactions in April 2016″.

Stephen Wasserman, managing director at West One Loans, said: “The property market will take a while to fully recover from the jitters caused by stamp duty hikes and economic uncertainty.

“Although the market is resilient, during times of prolonged economic uncertainty it is important that borrowers are aware of the range of financing available.”

Andy Knee, chief executive of LMS, added: “Last week, the Conservatives might have pledged to build an additional 1.5 million homes by 2022.

“But given the market is slowing, they both should have focussed on ensuring a 95% loan-to-value mortgage becomes easier to take out, which would allow a greater number of people to take their first steps on the housing ladder.”

The seasonally adjusted estimate of the number of non-residential property transactions decreased by 7.2% between March and April, which is 5.9% lower compared to the same month last year.

Shaun Church, director at Private Finance, commented: “Today’s market remains slightly sluggish, with the number of seasonally adjusted transactions dipping between March and April.

“The main reason behind weaker transaction figures remains the changes to stamp duty, which have particularly limited activity towards the upper end of the housing market.”

Jeremy Duncombe, director at Legal & General Mortgage Club, said of the statistics: “It is not surprising to see property transactions return to their usual levels this month.

“For the most part, property transactions have remained flat in recent times, as a lack of suitable housing stifles the market and pushes up property prices.

“Whatever the outcome of the upcoming General Election, the next Government must make fixing our broken housing market a priority.”

Robs Comments: This is interesting. So far, I have heard the following. 1) We have a shortage of houses 2) stamp duty increases are causing a slowdown in the house market and 3) Lender do not have the same appetite to lend. So, which is it?


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