Property Transactions in 2016 Almost Unchanged on an Annual Basis
By |Published On: 25th January 2017|

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Property Transactions in 2016 Almost Unchanged on an Annual Basis

By |Published On: 25th January 2017|

This article is an external press release originally published on the Landlord News website, which has now been migrated to the Just Landlords blog.

The number of property transactions over the whole of 2016 was almost unchanged on an annual basis, rising by just 0.45%, according to the latest figures from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Provisional non-seasonally adjusted data from the Government department show that there were 1,235,129 property transactions in 2016, up slightly from 1,229,580 in 2015.

In comparison, the number of property transactions increased by 0.88% between 2014-2015.

Property Transactions in 2016 Almost Unchanged on an Annual Basis

Property Transactions in 2016 Almost Unchanged on an Annual Basis

On a monthly basis, 109,100 property transactions were recorded in December, up by 5.1% on November, but down by 4% on December 2015.

The Chief Executive of estate agent Marsh & Parsons, David Brown, comments on the figures: “Despite a number of obstacles in 2016, the total number of transactions rose slightly compared to 2015, to the highest since the financial crash.

“The resilience demonstrated in the face of a vote to leave the EU and marked changes to Stamp Duty, which significant impacted sales of second homes and the buy-to-let market, is not to be scoffed at.

“We’ve already witnessed an encouraging stream of interest from buyers across London during the start of 2017, particularly international buyers who have been buoyed by the falling value of the pound and continue to view London property as a solid investment.”

Shaun Church, the Director of mortgage broker Private Finance, also says: “Reflecting on the second half of the year, the property market ended 2016 on more of a whimper than a bang, with transactions remaining largely flat and falling year-on-year.

“However, 2016 has been a very unusual stage in the life of the UK housing market, with Stamp Duty changes resetting the dial for investors and wider uncertainty caused by the EU referendum.

“Given these challenges, the market has proven to be remarkably resilient, and end-of-year sales meant December brought the largest monthly transaction total of the new Stamp Duty era.”

He continues: “Although we have seen a degree of recovery since April’s reform, overall activity levels do not paint the full picture of pressures facing would-be homebuyers. Low supply continues to pose an affordability challenge to buyers at the lower end of the market, and there has been a continued slowdown in sales of higher value properties.

“The Stamp Duty change was originally designed to boost tax revenues, but with fewer high value transactions taking place, this could ultimately prove to be counter-productive.

“However, the good news for potential buyers is that Stamp Duty changes have suppressed house price growth at the upper end of the market, which has the potential to offset some of the additional costs they would otherwise face from a higher tax burden.”

Finally, Doug Crawford, the Chief Executive of conveyancing firm My Home Move, believes: “In the long-term, demand for both rented and owner-occupied accommodation will support prices and sales volumes.

“There will undoubtedly be challenges to the market over the next 12 months, with the triggering of Article 50 and changes to landlords’ tax relief looming on the horizon.

“However, the property market has shown it is more than strong enough to overcome these obstacles.”

Recent research from the National Association of Estate Agents supports the view that December proved resilient to market changes, reporting that the number of homebuyers last month was the highest for 13 years.

About the Author: Em Morley (she/they)

Em is the Content Marketing Manager for Just Landlords, with over five years of experience writing for insurance and property websites. Together with the knowledge and expertise of the Just Landlords underwriting team, Em aims to provide those in the property industry with helpful resources. When she’s not at her computer researching and writing property and insurance guides, you’ll find her exploring the British countryside, searching for geocaches.

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