HMRC’s provisional seasonally adjusted UK property transaction count for April 2016 was 84,280 residential and 10,090 non-residential transactions.
The seasonally adjusted estimate of the number of residential property transactions fell by45.2% between March 2016 and April 2016. This month’s seasonally adjusted figure is 14.5% lower compared with the same month last year.
HMRC said the large increase in transactions for March 2016 followed by the substantial reduction in April is likely to be associated with the introduction of the higher rates on additional properties in April 2016.
However, it added that while April 2016 is lower than April 2015, it should be noted that the total for March and April 2016 is still substantially higher than the corresponding period last year.
For April 2016 the number of non-adjusted residential transactions was about 59.2% lower compared with March 2016. The number of non-adjusted residential transactions was 18.7% lower than in April 2015.
Jeremy Duncombe, director of Legal & General Mortgage Club, said: “It is not surprising to see that transaction figures in April have dropped. This is largely due to the slow down of activity in the buy-to-let market, following March’s peak completions as investors rushed to finalise transactions ahead of the Stamp Duty deadline. It is house price inflation, and not a huge surge in transaction figures, that is the main culprit in sending the cost of owning a home in this country sky high.
“As we creep towards the referendum date, it is likely that transaction figures will flatten, as we experienced last year in the build up to the general election. Events like these that create uncertainty in the market tend to make borrowers more cautious, causing them to take stock and assess how the chips have fallen before they take any real action, ultimately leading to a more subdued level of transactions.”
Andrew Bridges, managing director of Stirling Ackroyd, said: “The wheels of the property market are turning – but not quick enough to meet demand. A rush of activity at the start of the year left both buyers and sellers in a whirl. Now things have settled down, the property market needs to settle into a steadier rhythm.
“In the majority of London this is happening – with a healthy hum of buyers and sellers. But the old luxury corners of London are far quieter – the traditional top quarter of the market saw a 2.4% annualised fall in house prices in the last quarter of 2015. This means fewer properties on the market and ultimately less choice for buyers. Fortunately, this hasn’t spread too far. The East of London has shown its cards and is in a strong position – resistant to price falls and leading London’s property fortunes. Activity across the rest of the capital and the rest of the country now needs to catch up with the beacons of growth and optimism around developing hotspots.”