HMRC figures show annual downturn in property sales

Data released from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) surrounding the number of properties that are liable and non-liable for Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) for the second quarter of 2015 displays a downturn in residential and non-residential property sales compared with last year’s results.

Currently the threshold for SDLT for residential properties stands at £125,000 and non-residential properties at £150,000.

When equated with last year’s figures, numbers from the second quarter of 2015 for non-liable residential transactions shows a 22% decrease. In a similar but lesser trend, liable residential transactions took a dip of 7% when compared with the same quarter from 2014.

So far this month, Rightmove has reported its lowest dip in asking price for eight years, mirroring how a slump in property sales combined with an inflated demand for housing has prompted a surge in higher prices.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) have warned of record low level sales in the UK property market this year. Combined with this, figures have also demonstrated an increase in inflation of property prices which is again directly related to the upsurge in requirement for housing.

When comparing the 2015 SDLT data with these points, it can be noted that the HMRC statistics align to support these arguments. An overall decrease in SDLT takings reflects a general downturn in the market.

The figures show a greater shrinkage for non-liable residential property SDLT transactions when compared with liable residential property transactions. Therefore, a conclusion can be drawn that due to house prices having increased, more properties have consequently fallen under the liable category for SDLT, resulting in a greater dip in non-liable properties compared with 2015.

Simon Rubinsohn, Chief Economist at RICS has stated that the combination of inflated property prices and poor property market sales ‘highlights the very real challenges being presented by the housing market’.

On a positive note, the HMRC report concludes by stating that since the downturn of the economic climate in 2007/2008, HMRC’s historical data timeline continues to show a continued trend ‘upwards, with some seasonal peaks and troughs’.

Has your firm noticed a fall in the number of house sales this quarter compared with others? Do you think that the property market is noticeably different compared with 2014? Let us know in the comments section below.

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