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Monthly housing completions near an eight-year high

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Monthly housing completions in the UK hit a near eight year high in September, according to HMRC data.

Residential property transactions with a value of £40,000 or above totaled 106,030 in September, rising by 0.8% on the previous month, and the highest on a monthly basis since December 2007.

On a seasonally adjusted basis there were 5.4% more transactions in September than a year ago.

The figures are based on HMRC’s Stamp Duty Land Tax and the Scottish Administration’s Land and Buildings Transactions Tax. Housing transactions recorded by HMRC are based on property purchase completions.

During the 2014-15 financial year, property purchases totalled 1,201,080, compared to 1,140,610 over the course of 2013-14.

Since February 2014, the number of seasonally adjusted transactions has broadly stabilised at around 100,000, according to the data. Historically, transactions have been higher in the summer months, with numbers tending to dip towards the end of the calendar year.

Brian Murphy, head of lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau, said that while house prices have continued to rise they have done so at a steady pace helping to improve affordability.

“Demand from potential buyers is holding strong,” he said. “Especially as many are moving quickly to secure a competitive mortgage rate before interest rates rise. Borrowers are also benefitting from attractive deals offered by lenders keen to meet their targets by the end of the year.”

Andy Sommerville, director of Search Acumen, said: “The property market is in good health, experiencing steady growth as transactions creep up month-on-month. Looking closely at historical trends, we’re in an even better place.

“Aside from February of last year – which was something of a one-off in terms of exceptional performance – the only time the market has seen higher monthly transactions than this September was way back in December 2007.

“However, the need to address longer term supply-side issues remains the core challenge for policy makers. Brandon Lewis’s new target of a million new homes by 2020 is a challenging one, but the aspirations of future home buyers depend on the government’s ability to deliver on this promise.”


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