Number of monthly property transactions up 6.1% on 2014

The number of property transactions over £40,000 in October is up 6.1% compared with October 2014, according to the latest statistics published by HMRC this week.

Non-residential transactions also grew, with 10,160 recorded last month – up 4.8% year on year.

However, the picture across the UK is more varied, with growth in England, Wales and Scotland but a slowdown of 4% in Northern Ireland – dropping from 2340 to 2250 year on year.

It remains to be seen what effect, if any, the new Help-to-Buy ISAs will have once they come into force on December 1st.

The total number of residential property transactions recorded so far in 2015 is now just over a million, standing at 1,005,290.

The new Help-to-Buy ISA could help stimulate growth in the housing market, with first-time buyers able to earn an extra 25% on savings towards a property, but with buyers having to wait a minimum of three months to take the bonus, this could have a brief chilling effect on the statistics.

The 3% increase in stamp duty for second and buy-to-let homes is also expected to distort the market before it is introduced in April.

Peter Rollings, CEO of estate agents Marsh & Parsons, said: “October marks the fifth consecutive month that home sales have cleared 100,000, putting activity in a whole other league to the first half of 2015.

“There has been a slight correction on a monthly basis, but we’re still head and shoulders above a year ago, as buyers ride high on the wave of low interest rates and attractive mortgage products.

“In London, supply and demand are moving in different directions. We’ve seen the number of available properties for sale fall 5% during Q3, compared to a 4% boost in buyers over the same period.

“As a result, there are currently 14 buyers competing for every home on the market in the capital. Where property is priced sensibly, it is changing hands quickly, but if not, there is still a lot of hesitation in the mix in London. With a lot more stamp duty riding on transactions now, purchase decisions are more price sensitive than a year ago.”

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