Wednesday 24 April 2019 1:06 pm

House transactions rise in March

Residential transactions edged up last month, according to new figures from HMRC.

Read more: UK household earnings rise at sharpest rate in a decade

House deals grew by 1.4 per cent between February and March, while transactions on an annual level climbed 6.8 per cent.

What the experts said

"These figures show a more resilient picture than might have been expected," according to Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman.

Leaf added: "But on the ground this is what we are finding anyway, as we move into the traditionally busy spring buying season. Where buyers perceive real value and sellers show a degree of realism in the face of relatively few offers, there is a coming to terms with new market realities.

"Looking forward, we don’t anticipate much change and certainly not until the Brexit position becomes clearer. Although we do sense pent-up demand has not been released and many are itching to get into the market once a clearer picture emerges."

Kevin Roberts, director, Legal & General Mortgage Club, said: "While existing homeowners remain largely undeterred by the current political climate – with just 12 per cent of those who had plans to buy in the next six months delaying their decision – it’s clear there are still other barriers preventing people from achieving their homeownership goals."

Read more: London house prices: How Brexit hit prices in your borough

Shaun Church, director at Private Finance, added: "Property transactions have flatlined over the past year, with monthly totals consistently hovering around the 100,000 mark. Though lacking in growth, the market is displaying a reassuring level of consistency which is in sharp contrast to the political and economic uncertainty rumbling on in the background.

"Healthy levels of first-time buyer activity are playing a major role in this market stability. This is being stoked by strong mortgage affordability, product innovation encouraged by lender competition and government-backed incentives such as the stamp duty holiday. With house price growth more sedate in comparison to recent years, and mortgage rates seemingly staying low, it is likely that first-time buyers will continue to prop up the market as the year progresses."