New data from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) reveals that property transactions surged by over 40% between February and March this year, most likely a result of changes to Stamp Duty.
Provisional seasonally adjusted figures for March this year show that there were 165,480 residential and 9,830 non-residential property transactions over the month. This is a 41.5% increase between February and March.
On an annual basis, there were 69.7% more property transactions in March this year compared to the same month last year on a seasonally adjusted level.
The significant growth recorded in March is most probably down to a rush of buy-to-let investors and second homebuyers seeking to complete on properties before being charged an extra 3% in Stamp Duty.
As of 1st April, landlords and second homeowners are now charged a higher rate of Stamp Duty.
HMRC reveals that the number of non-adjusted residential property transactions is up by 74.8% in March compared with February. Annually, it is up by 77.1%.
With such a huge increase in property sales, new landlords must remember to protect their assets with Landlord Property Insurance.
The Managing Director of London estate agent Stirling Ackroyd, Andrew Bridges, comments on the data: “Movement is back on track in the property market, and it’s encouraging to see more selling and buying. But the flurry of the last month could only be a short-term feature – April showers lie ahead.
“Since March, there has been a slowdown in property sales, particularly at the top end of the market. The east of London is showing the greatest strength, while the west bears the brunt. After a summit in sales has been reached, there’s now a natural dip. But following this short-term correction, there will be a more stable and sustainable selling rhythm for the rest of 2016.”
He continues: “After the distraction of Stamp Duty changes, it’s back to the same challenges for the property market. A lack of supply isn’t helping the situation, pushing many Londoners out of the capital in search of affordable homes. What London needs is a plan. A plan to get things going again. In just a couple of weeks, London will see a new mayor enter the fray. It’s up to them to help shake up housing as the first and foremost priority. People need to keep moving to keep London moving.”
Indeed, recent research suggests that the London property market is finally running out of steam.
The Residential Landlords Association has also released its London mayoral manifesto, detailing what it hopes the new mayor will do for the private rental sector.