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HMRC: More properties change hands than last year

Rental Property

There were 19.3% more residential property transactions in November 2020 compared to the same period the year before, HMRC data found.

There were 115,190 seasonally adjusted transactions last month, up from 96,570 in November 2020.

The number of properties changing hands also rose by 8.6% from October 2020.

Anna Clare Harper, chief executive of asset manager SPI Capital, said: “The figures represent a recovery rather than a boom.

“This is at least partly policy-induced. Transactions are currently being encouraged up by the temporary Stamp Duty Land Tax reduction, as well as the release of pent up demand and supply, and the desire to improve surroundings following lockdown.

“Transactions have been dominated by second-time buyers – typically trading up in favour of more space – rather than first-time buyers ‘getting a foot on the ladder’.”

However some commentators were cautious about the months ahead.

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, said: “Transactions are always a better indicator of market health than more volatile house prices. However, despite these numbers showing a still-accelerating trend, they reflect sales which were agreed several months previously.

“Since then, the market has been moving closer to hibernation as is traditional at this time of year.

‘It will be a few months at least before transactions fall in line with the reduced activity that we have been seeing on the ground over the past few weeks.

“Nevertheless, prospects for 2021 remain relatively positive bearing in mind the determination of the overwhelming majority of buyers and sellers to complete their moves even if inevitably some will miss the stamp duty deadline.”

“Residential transactions data highlight that the fundamental drivers of value in residential property remain strong: our homes have never been so important as in lockdown.”