Uptick in Property Transactions Signals Industry’s Forward Momentum

August saw a 1% rise in property sales compared to the preceding month, though year-on-year data reveals a 16% drop.

Official data confirms that property transactions for August stood at 87,010. This marks a continuous monthly growth in seasonally adjusted sales for three months. Data from HMRC shows the months preceding August had increases of 6% in June and 0.3% in July.

However, an isolated look at August 2020, when property sales were 85,050 in the year the pandemic began, indicates that this year’s August had the lowest numbers since official recordings started in 2014.

CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, Iain McKenzie, stated: “Another uplift in property sales is a positive sign that the industry is recovering after a slow first half to the year. Estate agents have been enticing more sellers onto the market to give more choice to buyers. The annual picture still shows a significant drop off in sales at 16%, but nothing different to what we were forecasting at the start of the year. If anything, our predictions of an overall fall of 20% for 2023 may even be revised thanks to the consecutive months of increases we have seen.”

Nick Leeming, chairman of Jackson-Stops, concurred: “At a topline view, residential transactions have continued to rise modestly over the summer months, showing signs of a market that has been quietly boosted by a period of relative stability and resilience for sellers. Whilst these figures are a snapshot of deals agreed likely six months ago or more, the lending market today looks more settled. The wider market hopes that the Bank of England’s recent decision to hold the base rate at 5.25 per cent represents the peak and will therefore offer a boost to the lending market.”

Adding to the discussion, Jason Tebb, CEO of OnTheMarket, said: “Encouragingly, despite challenging market conditions, there hasn’t been a drastic fall-off in transactions, which are regarded as a more useful indicator of the health of the housing market than property prices. Focused buyers who need to move are finding opportunities and doing so regardless, although they are hyper-sensitive to pricing so sellers would be wise to take this into account.”