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HM Revenue & Customs Releases Latest Monthly Property Transactions

The number of UK property transactions saw a marked decrease between April and May 2021, according to the latest statistics from HM Revenue & Customs.

The figures, released yesterday, showed that UK residential transactions (provisional seasonally adjusted) fell 3.9 per cent between the two months, while its non-residential equivalent went up 8.7 per cent in the same period.

In a statement accompanying the figures, HM Revenue & Customs said that the data had caught some ‘positive impacts’ from the Stamp Duty and Land Transaction Tax holidays.

It went on: “Temporary increases to nil rate bands for UK residential property taxes and the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have both produced significant uncertainties underlying seasonal trends since around April 2020. Seasonally adjusted statistics should therefore be treated with additional caution.”

While the figures showed month-on-month decreases, the numbers still remained much higher than the same point a year ago at 138.2 per cent and 87.5 per cent higher in May 2021 than in May 2020.

Sam Mitchell, CEO of Strike, said: ““Despite property transactions easing in May for the second month in a row, numbers remain well above pre-pandemic levels with buyers and sellers scrambling to complete before the stamp duty holiday deadline at the end of this month.”

They added: “Now with only days left until the stamp duty holiday deadline, we expect property transactions to skyrocket, similar to the frenzy we witnessed in March before the original deadline. Some may be expecting a drop after the stamp duty holiday has come to an end, but with the tapering off period until October and the Government’s lending scheme combined with low interest rates, there are still plenty of factors to keep the market bubbling into the Autumn.”

Cloe Atkinson, managing director of Mortgage Engine, was buoyant about the figures. She said: ““The year-on-year comparison shows how far the housing market has come from the early days of the pandemic. Today’s figures reflect the work the industry has done to adapt, innovate and continue to operate safely through extraordinary conditions.”

She added: “As the country continues to work its way out of lockdown, though at a slightly slower than expected rate, the industry needs to be prepared for the next set of challenges. There are issues of affordability and vulnerability that urgently need to be addressed, particularly for those whose finances and careers have been devastated by the pandemic. The end of the furlough scheme later this year and the eventual withdrawal of a number of other government support schemes could both also hit potential homebuyers hard.”