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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Big fall in transactions put down to Brexit and summer

Residential property transactions totalled 86,630 in July, representing a monthly drop of 8.5 per cent and an annual fall of 12.4 per cent according to HM Revenue & Customs.

The data shows that non-seasonally adjusted residential transactions in July were approximately 11 per cent lower than in July 2018.

Amongst the leading agents responding to the news Jeremy Leaf, who runs a north London agency and is a former RICS residential chairman, says: “These numbers, though a little historic, are disappointing but not surprising bearing in mind the degree of political uncertainty, despite improving affordability and record low unemployment. Nevertheless, we are seeing on the ground that even in the traditionally quiet summer period, buyers are emerging from their slumber and looking beyond Brexit.”

And the director of Benham and Reeves, Marc von Grundherr, comments: “What we are seeing at present is the usual summer slump in transactions being exacerbated by Brexit uncertainty and a refusal by sellers to transact at a lower price than they may have secured before the referendum. Although mortgage affordability remaining fairly good, the huge stamp duty costs facing many buyers will do little to stimulate demand at the other end and continue to act as a financial anchor for those looking to climb the ladder.”

Paul Smith, head of Spicerhaart, adds: “The recent rumours regarding changes to Stamp Duty Land Tax are promising and sorely needed to support transactions, but continued speculation and backtracking by government isn’t helping general confidence. Announcing a date for the next budget should be a priority for government.

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