According to HMRC data, the provisional seasonally adjusted estimate of UK residential transactions in December 2021 was 100,110. This marks a 20 per cent dip on December 2020 but a 7.6 per cent spike on the prior month.
Last year also saw a record level of home transactions of almost 1.5m, the highest since 2007, before the financial crisis struck.
Movers were inspired to buy and sell in 2021 thanks to flexibility while working from home and a desire to be near green spaces amid the pandemic. The stamp duty holiday also drove the market into a frenzy.
Anthony Codling, CEO of property platform twindig, said: “The global Covid pandemic is certainly very different from the global financial crisis and we would not expect housing transactions to fall off a cliff this year. Interestingly the 100,110 housing transactions in December is almost identical to the level of housing transactions before the pandemic broke. We hope this is a good omen for more normal times in the year ahead.”
However, real estate experts warned the market would likely slow in the coming months due to low levels of housing stock and rising inflation.
Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, said the numbers demonstrated “market strength and resilience even in the build-up to Christmas and withdrawal of government economic support in September.”
However, he said: “We have moved on since December. Activity and price rises are slowing a little, not least because of the continuing shortage of stock but concerns about rising inflation and mortgage rates is also compromising confidence when it comes to taking on debt.
“Looking forward, sales will pick up if homeowners can be persuaded to put their properties up for sale at perhaps more realistic levels, as there is no doubt that demand is still strong.”
Paul McGerrigan, CEO at Loan.co.uk said the December data highlighted “a strong end to a frenzied year for property purchases – with apparently no let-up in sight.
He added: “It’s clear that desire for property is still high, fuelled mainly by house-hunters’ desire for increased space and many businesses’ increasing flexibility over employees’ working locations which is driving decentralisation. Supply of new homes coming onto the market is still woefully short, driving prices skyward.
“The crux of the future performance in 2022 is where this fierce demand meets rising interest rates, inflating fuel costs and other price hikes in the wake of Brexit – which still continues to put pressure on wallets. I expect a gradual slowing in the market until the uncertainty of unknown price hikes is resolved.”