August property transactions continue to lag behind 2019 levels

There were 16.3% fewer UK property transactions in August compared to the same period in 2019, HMRC statistics show.

There were 81,280 residential property transactions in August, which still represented an increase of 15.6% from July 2020.

Paul Stockwell, chief commercial officer at Gatehouse Bank, said: “August’s figures mark the third full month of transactions since the housing market reopened, and the third successive increase in sales.

“As we head into the autumn, transactions data will finally catch up with the buyers whose purchase was directly tied to the stamp duty incentive, and their activity is likely to bring sales in line with 2019’s levels before the year is out.

“The strength of the market in recent months indicates that even with darker economic clouds looming, buyers currently still have faith in the resilience of the UK housing market.”

Caroline Fleet, tax partner at Crowe, said: “Given that the SDLT holiday on residential properties is only in place until April 2021, the fear is that while there is likely to be an upturn in transactions leading up to that date, more support will be needed in the longer term.

“Real estate businesses effectively have their hands tied by factors such as the moratorium and our cumbersome planning system.”