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Property sales bounce back in all but one UK region

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Thu 22 Mar 2018

Property sales bounce back in all but one UK region

The taxman’s UK Property Transaction Statistics for February 2018 shows 83,230 sales last month on a non-seasonally adjusted basis.

This is an improvement on the 81,580 recorded in January and reverses two consecutive months of falls.

England saw a 3% increase on a monthly basis to 72,140, while Wales was up 1.8% to 3,790.

Northern Ireland saw a 14% jump to 1,950, while Scotland was the only region to see a fall, down 14.2% to 5,350.

However, on a seasonally adjusted basis, HMRC says the transaction figures are down 0.3% on a monthly basis to 101,010, down 0.7% annually.

Brian Murphy, head of lending for Mortgage Advice Bureau, said: “What we can interpret from the statistics is that the housing market is continuing on a steady course, with transaction numbers broadly unchanged on the previous month and only very slightly reduced on the same time last year.

“This underscores industry forecasts that the market will continue to perform at the same level this year with a relatively steady number of transactions at a topline level, although the mix of buyers is changing as we see fewer investors, but the slack being picked up at entry level by first-time buyers.

“Having said that, as we continue to see a diverging regional picture with some areas experiencing a significant upturn in buyer activity, this overall trend masks the fact that some towns and cities have seen higher than anticipated levels of buyer activity in the first two months of this year.

“This ‘two tier’ market is therefore propping up the more subdued levels of activity in London and the south-east, a reversal of what we’ve seen in previous years, and potentially an indicator of what we may see over the course of the next few months.”