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Property transactions up 20.3% in April: HMRC

Property transactions in the UK fell by 3.2 per cent in the month to April but were up 20.3 per cent on the same month last year on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to HMRC.

The year-on-year rise in transactions has been linked to the introduction of higher tax rates on additional properties in April 2016, which means that ‘direct comparisons should be avoided’, HMRC says.

Residential property transactions for April stood at 99,910, the figures found, with 9,980 non-residential transactions occurring.

Legal & General Mortgage Club director Jeremy Duncombe says: “It is not surprising to see property transactions return to their usual levels this month. March’s figures may have shown a fall in transactions, but it’s important to bear in mind that this data was largely skewed by last year’s buy-to-let rush ahead of the April Stamp Duty rise.

“For the most part, property transactions have remained flat in recent times, as a lack of suitable housing stifles the market and pushes up property prices. As a result, the next generation of homeowners is still struggling to make that first step onto the ladder amid a housing market that is characterised by a supply-demand crisis. Whatever the outcome of the upcoming General Election, the next Government must make fixing our broken housing market a priority.”

West One Loans managing director Stephen Wasserman says: “The property market will take a while to fully recover from the jitters caused by stamp duty hikes and economic uncertainty. On top of this, the result of the upcoming General Election is likely to have an impact over the coming months. Nevertheless, we’re confident the sector will bounce back. Although the market is resilient, during times of prolonged economic uncertainty it is important that borrowers are aware of the range of financing available. Flexible borrowing options, such as bridging loans, can help to speed up the transaction, enabling buyers to move faster and capitalise on opportunities in this uncertain environment.”

On a non-adjusted basis, residential transactions were about 22.5 per cent lower in April compared with March 2017. The number of non-adjusted residential transactions was 12.8 per cent higher than in April 2016.

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