The number of properties sold at the start of 2016 across the UK was 7.7 per cent higher than in 2015, new figures reveal.
Nearly 105,400 residential properties were sold in January and just over 9,600 non-residential, compared to 97,000 and 9,740 a year earlier on a seasonally adjusted basis.
“Even as the housing market builds a head of steam, there isn’t as much movement as might be hoped for," said Andrew Bridges, managing director of London estate agent Stirling Ackroyd, of the property transaction figures from HMRC.
"Our capital is a case in point. Escalating stamp duty charges are largely responsible for this slowdown – deterring people from a change of scenery. These charges now apply to nearly every residential transaction in London. So new measures or more effort from the government are needed to encourage moving – and wake the London property market out of its current slumber.”
The mortgage Advice Bureau's head of lending Brian Murphy said: “Despite the fact that rising prices have clearly not put a dampener on activity, policymakers need to work hard to ensure that the market is accessible for first-time buyers and borrowers on modest incomes. While conditions are good for those who can meet affordability criteria and raise a deposit, it is important to ensure that a diverse range of prospective buyers are supported in accessing the housing market.”