Property transactions fell eight per cent in October

Helen Cahill
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Transactions have not recovered to levels seen before the stamp duty tax hike this year (Source: Getty)

Property transactions fell eight per cent year-on-year in October, according to figures from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

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When accounting for seasonal changes in property sales, the number of residential property transactions in October came to 97,640, as compared to 106,120 in the same month last year.

Despite the annual fall in the figures, commentators were upbeat about the one per cent monthly rise in transactions, saying this showed a positive trend for the housing market, which had cooled following the Brexit vote.

Stephen Smith, director of Legal & General housing partnerships, said: "It is important that we put these figures into perspective: the imbalance between supply and demand is continuing to overwhelm the market, pushing up prices and causing affordability to worsen. Until this dangerous disparity is addressed the market, and wider economy, will continue to suffer."

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There was a large increase in property transactions in March this year before the higher rate of stamp duty on second homes came into effect, and transactions fell off immediately afterwards. HMRC said that the total number of transactions in the first and second quarters of this year was still higher than during the same period in 2015, however.

Stephen Wasserman, managing director of West One Loans, said: “Today’s figures are a positive indication that the recent market drought experienced may be coming to an end.

"As the market starts to pick up, we anticipate many buyers, buy-to-let and second home buyers, will start to emerge from the woodwork once again. If this positive sentiment continues, we expect to see an increase in demand for short term finance, such as bridging loans, as purchasers look to stabilise property chains and snap-up new opportunities as they come to market."

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