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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Good news for agents as transaction figures defy Brexit blues

There’s good news from the market - property transactions increased by 1.7 per cent between the start of this year and February, according to new figures from HMRC.

There’s even better news on an annual basis - seasonally adjusted there were 101,780 residential transactions last month, equating to a 2.7 per cent yearly increase. 

North London estate agent and former RICS Residential faculty head Jeremy Leaf says: “Transactions are always a much better indicator of property market health than more volatile prices, which can fluctuate more often month by month. What the HMRC numbers show is that demand can only remain pent up for so long, irrespective of political uncertainty. 

“We have noticed more of a cautious ‘why not?’ replacing ‘why?’ as a mantra for many. Business is tough but realistic buyers and sellers are managing to find a compromise reflecting future price expectations and moving on” he says. 

Other agents have echoed his relief at the news, despite counting Brexit uncertainty.

Haart chief executive Paul Smith adds: “This indication of increased market activity chimes with our own branch data. On the ground, our branches reported a 6.8 per cent annual increase in transactions in February, alongside a 16 per cent increase in the number of new buyers registering interest on the month. 

“All being well, we could see this rise in initial intrigue transfer into meaningful transactions in the coming months.”

And Mike Scott, an analyst at online agency Yopa, comments: “These sales will have been agreed in the autumn of 2018 when the Brexit deadline was less pressing, but the positive numbers suggest that any downturn in market activity due to the political uncertainty will be short-lived.”

Gareth Lewis, commercial director of specialist lender MT Finance, says: "The HMRC data is really quite positive because it is simply demonstrating month-on-month continued growth for the housing market, no mean feat when you consider the ongoing farce that is Brexit. While MPs make a mockery of us as they can’t come to the right decision, the property market is ticking along regardless. There is no doom and gloom around it, there is still positive sentiment and people are transacting.”

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