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.
“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.”