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Residential property transactions flat in May: HMRC

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The total number of residential property transactions in May was almost flat compared to the previous month and the same time last year at 99,590, according to HM Revenue & Customs.

May’s figure was up by just 0.8 per cent from April and down by 0.5 per cent compared to May 2017, the figures show.

Legal & General Mortgage Club director Kevin Roberts says: “Monthly figures continue to fluctuate, but the underlying story is one of diminishing transaction numbers over the last few years.

“A lack of supply is the key issue here. However, until we are consistently building 300,000 new homes per year, the industry needs to knock heads together to think of alternative ways to address the housing crisis.

“One in four housing transactions are funded by the Bank of Mum and Dad – that in itself is a sign of a broken market. Not all households are able to rely on the Bank of Mum and Dad for help, and greater innovation in the sector is needed to ensure people aren’t being locked out of homeownership.

“Whether that be creating more intergenerational mortgage products, reassessing eligibility criteria, or finding other forms of saving for a deposit; lenders, housing associations and the government need to work together to ensure that all those wanting to buy a home are able to do so.”

Former Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors residential chairman and north London estate agent Jeremy Leaf adds: “As always, it is the number of transactions and their direction of travel which is more relevant to us on the high street than house prices as a test of market strength. These figures are no exception and show activity encouragingly increasing but frustratingly not by as much as we would have expected at this time of year.

“Listings are on the up but once again it is only those buyers and sellers recognising the new reality in this highly price-sensitive market who are moving on. Certainly, the prospect of a further, albeit modest, rise in interest rates being deferred is certainly not doing the market any harm.”

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