UK property sales fall with no impact on house prices

·Business Reporter, Yahoo Finance UK
·3-min read
UK property: Members of the public look in the window of an estate agents in South Kensington, London
UK property sales: HMRC said it was the third slowest June for a decade and down 4% from June 2019. Photo: Press Association

UK property transactions unexpectedly fell during the month of June, with sales 7.9% lower than the previous month, as the housing market begins to steady after two years of turbulence.

According to the latest data from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), residential transactions during the month stood at 96,290, 55.1% lower than June 2021, and 3.1% lower than the previous month.

Residential property refers to buildings used or suitable for use as a dwelling, or in the process of being constructed for use as a dwelling. It also includes the gardens and grounds of dwellings.

Meanwhile, non-residential transactions stood at 8,850, almost a quarter (24.3%) lower than last year, and a 9.5% drop from May 2022.

Non-residential property includes commercial property, agricultural land, forests, and any other land or property which is not residential.

Read more: UK house prices climb to record £294,845 as market shows no signs of cooling

It was the third slowest June for a decade and down 4% from June 2019.

Sarah Coles, senior personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “This is meant to be bumper house buying season, but sales have started drying up. Aside from a low point early in the pandemic, we haven’t seen a June this slow in nine years.”

It comes as spiralling delays are also currently causing the average UK transaction to take in the region of 150 days from offer through to completion.

“While we move out of the spring bounce a slight decline is inevitable with summer holidays on the horizon, however this downturn may be more indicative of the lower end of the market starting to feel the effects of chain delays and mortgage offers expiring,” Nick Leeming, chairman of Jackson-Stops, said.

“It’s also important to caveat that if we look at these figures across the past five years, clocking up just over 95,000 transactions in June still sits comfortably close to the pre-pandemic 100,000 monthly average.

“In 2021, June’s unprecedented pent-up market saw figures reach over double this, thanks to the race to beat the stamp duty holiday deadline and buyers re-entering the market post-lockdown.”

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September 2021 was the final month buyers could benefit from the government’s stamp duty holiday, a tax break designed to prop up the housing market, and help consumers as the economy contracted during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

The holiday was extended from 31 March 2021 to the end of June and once more, tapering from June to the end of September, as people rushed to market.

Housebuyers could have cashed in on savings of up to £15,000 ($20,230) if they bought at the right time.

The break caused a frenzy in the market, with many using it as an excuse to make long-awaited moves or buy for the first time. However, some said that with climbing house prices over the past year the discount was quickly priced in and that it "distorted" the market.

On Wednesday, data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that UK house prices rose by 12.8% in May, up from 11.9% the month before, fuelling Britain’s property boom.

The average UK house price came in at £283,000 during the month, which was £32,000 higher than the same time last year.

Average house prices increased over the year in England to £302,000 (13.1%), in Wales to £212,000 (14.4%), in Scotland to £188,000 (11.2%) and in Northern Ireland to £165,000 (10.4%).

Watch: Will UK house prices ever fall?

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