Transaction figures ‘remain robust’ despite fall – industry reaction

25-5-2022

Residential property transactions totalled 97,970 in April, 13.9% lower than April 2021 and 10.5% lower than March 2022, according to the latest figures from HMRC.

On a seasonally adjusted basis transactions totalled 106,780 – 12.1% lower than April 2021 and 3.9% lower than March 2022.

Nick Leeming, Chairman of Jackson-Stops, commented: “After a remarkably long cycle of eye-watering house price growth, we may be at long last seeing the scales of supply and demand become more balanced. The loosening up of the housing market is good news to sellers who were previously holding back in fear of not finding a suitable onward purchase. A boost in supply should mark the end of this period of stalemate.

“Although HMRC reports that transaction numbers in April this year are far from the highs we saw in 2021, last year by all accounts deviated from any seasonal norms as buyers and sellers made up for lost time during the multiple lockdowns throughout 2020 where transactions dropped by over 55%.

“Looking ahead, I think for the rest of the year we will see market activity start to level out relative to the frenetic pace seen in the months previous.”

Jason Tebb, chief executive officer of OnTheMarket, said: “With transaction levels lower in April than in March and down on the same period last year, it’s clear the frenetic pace of the housing market has subsided; yet the ‘new normal’ housing market, an elevated version of the pre-pandemic market, continues to show resilience.

“Our own data indicates that high levels of buyer and seller confidence in April were consistent with previous months as the housing market continues to adjust and thrive, despite all apparent headwinds. As the number of properties newly listed for sale slowly increases, serious property seekers are getting on with the business of moving.”

Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, remarked: “Last month saw a slowdown in property sales and while it’s tempting to assume this is the result of the current economic downturn, this may not be the case.
“The volume of sales is starting to look closer to pre-pandemic levels now, which could eventually cool price growth enough to entice more people onto the property ladder.

“A reduction in the number of properties being sold was always expected, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise when we see slower months than usual, especially since March was a month of such high demand.”

Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, commented: “At just shy of 98,000, housing transactions in April remained 13% above the pre-pandemic average.

“Though these figures are yet to reflect the impact of the squeeze on household finances and increases in interest rates, they show peoples re-assessment of what they want from a home has continued to support housing market activity, even though the experience of lockdown has begun to fade into our memories.

“The pool of unmet demand among more affluent home-buyers, who are more insulated from the macro-economic backdrop than the average household, points to a slowing in the market rather than anything more dramatic, especially given the lack of stock available to buy.”

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