The number of homes bought and sold in the UK fell again between July and August, providing further evidence the property market is beginning to stagnate.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, property transactions fell 0.5 per cent between July and August to 103,490, figures by HM Revenues and Customs (HMRC) showed.
Although the figure is 6.6 per cent above last year, HMRC pointed out it was flat on 2015.
“Caution should be used making comparisons of transactions between August 2017 and August 2016 as some taxpayers may have changed their behaviour as they considered the result of the June 2017 General Election, and the EU referendum in June 2016,” it said.
The figure is yet another suggestion the UK’s property market is beginning to suffer after it was hit by the double whammy of last year’s stamp duty increase and political uncertainty.
Data from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) published at the end of last month suggested the number of homes on estate agents’ books was at its lowest for any July since 2002.
Meanwhile, Rightmove‘s closely-watched house price index, published on Monday, showed the average UK asking price fell 1.2 per cent in the month to 9 September, the third fall in four months.
“The important change is in the market balance between the numbers of new buyers and sellers entering the market,” said Robin Hardy, a research analyst at Shore Capital.
“The market has been in reasonable balance for some time but there is growing evidence of a buyers’ market emerging as the number of new sellers begins to rise more rapidly.”
Stephen Wasserman, managing director at West One Loans, suggested there were signs sellers were pausing in anticipation of the Bank of England‘s long-awaited interest rate rise.
“With widespread speculation about when a base rate rise will happen, it’s to be expected that there is some knock-on for the property market.
“With the UK set to leave the EU in March 2019, there is going to be a lengthy period of uncertainty, but we are hopeful that the property sector can provide continued stability for investors and consumers alike.”