House sale numbers back to pre-epidemic levels

Although house prices suggest a booming market, the actual number of transactions in January was down on January 2021.

The conclusion has come from the Office for National Statistics and is based on stamp duty returns.

Total UK residential transactions numbered 85,520 in January 2022, 12.6 per cent lower than in January 2021 and 22.2 per cent down on December 2021. Seasonally adjusted transactions in January 2022 were 106,990, 10.6 per cent lower than January 2021 but 5.1 per cent higher than December 2021. However the adjusted figures come with a health warning that the effect of the coronavirus and all that followed, including a stamp duty holiday, made seasonal trends difficult to define.

At a provisional estimate of 85,520, the January 2022 figure for non-seasonally adjusted UK residential transactions ‘is similar to levels reported before the coronavirus pandemic, such as January 2020 when transactions were 83,840’, said ONS. ‘UK residential transactions have gradually increased following substantial coronavirus-related decreases during the spring of 2020, including large peaks in March, June, and September 2021.

‘Between January 2019 and March 2020, UK residential transactions followed a seasonal but stable trend, with higher transactions during summer and autumn months and lower transactions during the remaining months’.