UK PROPERTY SALES DOWN BUT LOW INTEREST RATES EXPECTED TO KEEP THE BUOYANT

The number of property sales in the UK has dropped significantly, according to HMRC. The Government's tax office has revealed that the property sales figures are down 4.3% month on month, and down a worryingly high 11.3% in September. This means there were only 93,130 residential property transactions during September.

Stamp Duty Collections Also Down

HMRC's research also reveals that September's stamp duty total collected from property purchases also fell by 3.4% for the year, to a meagre £927 million, which led to the Chief Executive Officer of London estate agents Marsh & Parsons, David Brown, to state that these figures could indicate that the UK housing market is starting to wobble in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum. He said, "A falling pound, rising inflation and a slow down of the property market paint a bleak picture."

However, Mr Brown wasn't all doom and gloom, as he continued, "Our experience shows that in London particularly, appetite for property and confidence in the market remains solid. Overall there is positive news for buyers and sellers alike as demand is still good and we are now starting to see interest from foreign buyers, greater competition and sealed bids for properties. Even in the current climate, when some people may want to take stock to see how things materialise, there is still plenty of pent-up demand and little chance of this grinding to a halt."

A Shortage of Homes to Blame

Nick Davies is estate agent Stirling Ackroyd's Head of Residential Development and he firmly believes that the falling numbers are due to a significant shortage of homes becoming available. He said, "While the demand for homes continues to grow and interest rates are at a record low, the lack of properties available is reducing sales and driving up house prices."

However, another industry insider in the shape of online mortgage adviser Trussle's CEO, Ishaan Malhi, believes the low mortgage rates will keep the market moving. Mr Malhi said:

"You'd be forgiven for thinking that transaction volumes would rise in September, given the record low mortgage rates we're currently seeing, but in reality, many lenders delayed passing on the cuts to customers until September and some until October. Buying a house can also be a lengthy process, so any knock-on effect of August's base rate cut is more likely to be visible in the coming months. The drop in interest rates will undoubtedly have spurred more buyers into action and for anyone currently on the lookout for a new home, it's important to shop around and find a lender which is passing on the full benefit to its borrowers as this could save a fortune in the long run."