HMRC warns of “negative impacts” of Coronavirus on sales figures

HM Revenue & Customs has warned of what it calls the “negative impacts” of the pandemic on the latest property transactions figures.

HMRC says the 213,120 transactions last month meant there was a 219.1 per cent increase in residential transactions from June 2020 to June 2021, which is 74.1 per cent higher than year-on-year figures to May this year.

However HMRC warns that the housing market was almost wholly shut down a year earlier, making the annual comparison difficult – and it also says there was significant evidence of forestalling in the property market in June this year, with transactions completed early to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday, which ended for properties up to £500,000 on June 30.

Nick Leeming, chairman of Jackson-Stops, says: “We anticipate transactions dipping slightly over coming months from these record-breaking levels as the SDLT holiday tapers off, but overall we expect the market to remain highly active for the foreseeable future for several reasons. 

“While many have sought to take advantage of flexible working to make a move further out into the suburbs or the countryside, the work from home message has now been lifted. Buyers will now have to consider how to best split their time between the office and remote working and how their home can best facilitate this.”

And agent and former RICS residential faculty chair Jeremy Leaf adds: “These figures clearly illustrate the frenzied rush to the finishing line for buyers to take advantage before the stamp duty holiday drew to a close. 

“However, activity has reduced since, particularly in London where the savings were greatest. Early signs are that sales will be down significantly but we have noticed nearly all of our transactions are continuing with very few renegotiations. This leads us to believe prices will not be markedly different over the next few months.”

Lucian Cook, Savills’ head of residential research, comments: “We expect to see a third peak in transactions in September when the final remnants of the stamp duty holiday come to an end, but given that the maximum saving has fallen from £15,000 to £2,500 it is likely to be less pronounced.”

Written by: Houseladder