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Transactions slump prompts call for government action

The number of property transactions in July fell 3.2 per cent on the same month last year according to seasonally adjusted figures from HMRC.

There were 99,270 residential property transactions recorded in July, compared to 100,060 seen in June this year. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis the number of residential transactions was down from 113,340 in June to 105,940 in July.

The slump has prompted calls for government action to help the market. 

Craig McKinlay, director of sales and marketing at Kensington Mortgages, says every rung of the ladder is being weakened by limited supply. 

He says the government must make “significant progress” on its pledge to create 300,000 affordable and sustainable houses each year, and more assistance should be given to downsizers including financial incentives.

Online agency Yopa says the situation is unlikely to improve for the rest of the year.  “We don’t expect any significant change in activity levels compared with last year as we move into the busier autumn housing market. We should end up with a total of just under 1.2m house sales in 2018, the slowest year since 2013” according to its analyst, Mike Scott.

A slightly more optimistic interpretation comes from Guy Bradshaw, director of Central London sales and lettings at UK Sotheby’s International Realty, who says: “The average transaction time is three months so these deals would have taken place in April when vendors were just recovering from an unseasonably cold spring.” 

He continues: “We don’t expect to see the market to change dramatically in the next six months but we have seen more listings, viewings and offers in the past two months. Whether there will be a peak in transactions later in the year will be determined by whether agents sensibly price properties.”


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