Property transaction volumes are steadying across the board

The HMRC property transactions data today showed that the provisional seasonally adjusted estimate of the number of UK residential transactions in January 2023 is 96,650, 11% lower than January 2022 and 3% lower than December 2022. When compared to pre-pandemic, in January 2020 97,310 residential transactions were registered, suggesting that current completion rates are similar to this.

Commenting on HMRC Property Transactions data, Nick Leeming, Chairman of Jackson-Stops, said: “Overall, these figures indicate that transaction volumes are steadying across the board, on par with volumes seen pre-pandemic, signalling an end to the days of erratic swings in completions. The past two years have been marked by policy changes, economic volatility, and unserviceable levels of buyer demand, where now the market appears to be finding its balance. House prices are also finding their new balance, which has given broader opportunities to would-be buyers, and will be key to keeping transactions buoyed in the coming months.

“With mortgage rates continuing their descent following the highs of late last year, now more closely in line with the current Bank of England base rate of 4%, this backdrop will provide some comfort for buyers. The reality is that while on the surface mortgage rates are higher than the favourable, low interest rate environment we had grown used to since 2008, current rates remain accessible for borrowers who have a large deposit and a smaller lending proportion. With mortgage rates becoming more agreeable, the market hopes this will inspire greater confidence and homebuyer activity, leading to a sunnier spring.

“Across the country transactions are continuing to take place and homes in good locations, with strong transport links and that are listed at a fair price point, are catching buyers’ attention. House prices holding firm are a clear indication of this continued commitment throughout the chain for purchases to continue.”