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UK property transactions up 6.8% in March: HMRC

The number of property transactions across the UK rose on an annual and monthly basis, according to figures collected by HMRC.

Seasonally adjusted, there were 101,830 residential transactions in March, a 1.4 per cent rise month-on-month, and a 6.8 per cent increase annually.

In addition, there were 11,210 for non-residential transactions last month, which equates to an 8.9 per cent rise on a monthly basis, and 9.7 per cent in the year to March.

Yopa chief property analyst Mike Scott says that these figures show a stable property market, but that a a yearly rise was to be expected due to the “Beast from the East” weather pattern last march that depressed activity.

“Overall,” he adds, “the first quarter has been remarkably consistent with the previous five years, showing that activity in the housing market has not been dented by the current political and economic uncertainty.”

North London estate agent Jeremy Leaf comments: “These figures show a more resilient picture than might have been expected. But on the ground, this is what we are finding anyway, as we move into the traditionally busy spring buying season.

“We do not anticipate much change and certainly not until the Brexit position becomes clearer… although we do sense pent-up demand has not been released and many are itching to get into the market once a clearer picture emerges.”

MT Finance director Joshua Elash adds: “There is a danger that an overall number of transactions for the country as a whole masks an unhealthy market, which in large parts is either stagnant or in decline and empowers the government to continue with its strategy of an overly-aggressive stamp duty regime.

“We shall wait to see what this transactional volume equates to in net stamp duty revenues to HMRC.

“The suspicion is that the volumes reflect increased activity in the regions and secondary cities, which would be consistent with the recent house price data released by the Land Registry.

“But transactional volumes in London and the South East, where higher value properties yield higher stamp duty returns, remain suppressed.”

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