Britain’s property market suffered a sharp fall in the number of transactions made between June and July, as the traditional summer slowdown and growing uncertainty over Brexit dented activity.
Figures released by HMRC this morning show a marked reduction in the number of property transactions over the summer months, with a drop of 8.5 per cent in residential transactions between June and July 2019, as well as a 12.4 per cent decrease since July last year.
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Property experts warned this morning that the dip in deals was in large part down to the mounting uncertainty over Britain’s imminent departure from the EU, with buyers and sellers showing signs of reluctance over moving house.
“These numbers, though a little historic, are disappointing but not surprising bearing in mind the degree of political uncertainty, despite improving affordability and record low unemployment,” according to Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman
Today’s data comes amid growing speculation of a possible no-deal Brexit, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowing to take Britain out of the EU by the end of October with or without an agreement.
The figures have been presented on the same day as a poll conducted by Reuters shows house prices in London would likely slip by as much as 10 per cent in the ensuing six months in the event of a disorderly exit from the European Union.
Josef Wasinski, Co-Founder of Unmortgage, added that today’s evidence of a fall in transactions “indicates the continued struggle of many people still unable to buy their own homes.”
‘These figures do little to disguise the grim reality that, for many, the dream of stepping onto the property ladder is still out of reach”.
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On Saturday, The Times reported that Sajid Javid was considering a move to make house sellers, rather than buyers, pay stamp duty tax. The Chancellor has since dismissed the idea, but says he still plans “bold measures on housing”.
Kevin Roberts, director of Legal & General Mortgage Club, said that “to stimulate the market, the government needs to build more housing across all types of tenure. This will provide second steppers and last-time buyers with more choice and in turn, families can up or down-size accordingly.”