Number of transactions up 7.5% year on year for January 2016

The number of residential transactions for properties worth more than £40,000 in January was 83,590 according to figures released by HMRC, up 7.5% on January 2015.

Seasonally adjusted figures also suggest a slight dip from the norm, going from 109,020 in December to 105,940 in January

Andy Sommerville, director of Search Acumen, said: “Although residential transactions have experienced a slight dip in January 2016 from December, the number of transactions are still notably higher than the same time last year, an indication that while the market may be jittery due to global uncertainty in the short term, we’re in a much better position than in January 2015.

“This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t brace ourselves for a buy to let surge before April though and the full picture of the government’s intervention into buy to let is likely to reveal itself at the end of the first quarter.

“While lack of affordability and housing supply remain a key issue, this month-on-month dip should be seen in the wider context of uncertainty around Brexit and turbulent stock markets at the beginning of the year.”

Whilst many are pointing to stamp duty reforms as a stimulator for growth and panic in the buy-to-let sector, Andrew Bridges at Stirling Ackroyd believes the reverse could be true.

Andrew Bridges, managing director of Stirling Ackroyd said: “Even as the housing market builds a head of steam, there isn’t as much movement as might be hoped for.

“Our capital is a case in point. London’s property market has gallons of untapped potential. Yet a lack of supply is pushing people to stay put for longer, reducing the flow of homes onto the market. London’s rising population will only worsen this supply shortfall. And this rising tide of people is coupled with shrinking households, alongside ageing housing stock that no longer matches up with modern life.

“Our research shows that fewer people are living in London’s homes – the average household is likely to include just 2.3 people per home by 2020. This means even more homes are needed on the market. New builds are a crucial component of this. But refurbishment, renewal and motion matter too. The property market must keep people moving, downsizing and relocating.

“Escalating stamp duty charges are largely responsible for this slowdown – deterring people from a change of scenery. These charges now apply to nearly every residential transaction in London. So new measures or more effort from the Government are needed to encourage moving – and wake the London property market out of its current slumber.”

Today's Conveyancer