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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Annual transactions highest since 2007, says HMRC

The latest HM Revenue and Customs figures show that there were 1.23 million property transactions in 2016, the highest figure recorded since 2007.

The seasonally adjusted figure is higher than the 1.22 million recorded in 2015 and represents a significant increase when compared with the 2009 low of 847,540.

Last year's increase is partly down to the introduction of a 3% stamp duty surcharge in April. HMRC reports that in March - leading up to the introduction of the increased tax - transactions soared to almost 175,000 as investors and second property purchasers endeavoured to avoid paying an extra 3% in stamp duty.

In December, there were 97,250 residential transactions - 8.5% lower than the 106,230 recorded in December 2015 and 0.2% higher than the figure recorded in November.

"Regardless of whether you look at the seasonally adjusted figures for the calendar year or the non-seasonally adjusted figures for the same period, in terms of levels of properties sold, the overall volume of transactions is in line with, and indeed slightly higher, than 2014 and 2015," says Brian Murphy, head of lending for Mortgage Advice Bureau.   

"This would suggest that, [despite] political and economic uncertainties, consumer confidence in bricks and mortar remains consistent."

Ishaan Malhi, chief executive and founder of online mortgage broker Trussle, adds: “Property transactions may have increased in December, but the number of homes being bought and sold is still significantly down from last year.”

“Stamp duty rises may have exaggerated the decline, but the underlying issue is that there are simply too few homes to go around.”

A report released by Lloyds shows that the total number of homemovers fell in 2016 after four years of consistent growth.

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