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Property sales in the UK fell back between June and July by 4.4%, according to the latest seasonally adjusted estimate from HMRC. There were a total of 100,720 residential transactions and 10,100 others in July, the data shows, some 0.2% higher compared with the same month last year. Peter Rollings, chief executive officer of agents Marsh & Parsons, pointed out that it is the first rise on an annual basis for this measure for seven successive months. ‘In July, sales may have slipped back slightly month on month, but we need to remember that the market was working overtime in June to regain ground lost before the election,’ he said. He explained that ever since the changes to stamp duty at the end of 2014 property taxation has become more of a sticking point in London, and here buyer demand has slowed somewhat at the top-end. ‘It will take a while for these changes to fully bed in, and in the meantime house price rises and property sales in the capital may be outshone by other UK regions for the months to come,’ he said. ‘But that’s not to say they’ve fallen out of line and with an average 12 buyers chasing every available property on the market, the strength of the demand for homes in London will continue to push growth up a gear,’ he added. Doug Crawford, chief executive officer of conveyancing services provider myhomemove, also believes that the general election has been a factor affecting the property market in recent months. ‘The general election’s outcome assured buyers and sellers that the housing market was likely to remain stable, leading to a spike in the number of property transactions in June. Today’s HMRC figures show that the number of transactions has barely changed over the last year and this begs the question about why a year’s steady improvement in the economy hasn’t led to an increase in home purchases, particularly when mortgage availability and rates have been so favourable,’ he said. ‘The main impediment has been a serious shortage in supply. There is a lot of appetite from buyers but not enough homes for sale to meet demand. This mismatch is stoking price rises. In some areas we have even seen instances of gazumping, as sellers look to make the most of competition between buyers by accepting higher offers,’ he explained. He believes that the big question looming in the background is the timing of an interest rate rise from the Bank of England. Many would be buyers are keen to purchase while mortgage rates are so low. Increased anticipation of rate rises is putting greater pressure on buyers and competition for homes for sale could drive up prices further in the short term,’ he added. Continue reading →
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