Property transactions dip to 102,000 in December
In December, 101,920 residential property transactions completed, a 3% year-on-year fall, Government figures show.
Residential transaction levels in the UK had been stable in recent months but weaker in December, according to HMRC.
However, it noted that completions were still higher than pre-pandemic levels. For example, there were 99,510 transactions in December 2019.
For the financial year so far starting from April 2022, there have been a total of 938,350 residential transactions in the UK.
Property experts said the figures suggested the market was still doing well but the next few months would set a clearer scene.
Tomer Aboody, director of MT Finance, said with transactions staying relatively stable over the year, it was an “encouraging indication as to the state of the British property market with buyers still pushing transactions and sales”.
He added: “Whereas pricing might be slightly down and completion times are taking slightly longer, many buyers are still looking to proceed with their purchase in order to take advantage of pre-agreed mortgages with lower rates, secured earlier on in the year.
“How transaction levels will look in a couple of months’ time could be very different, however, due to higher mortgage rates and fewer buyers prepared to pull the trigger.”
Karl Wilkinson, CEO at Access Financial Services, said: “The housing transactions figures suggest that Q4 2022 was more robust than the doomsayers predicted. Despite rising mortgage rates, and energy cost concerns, consumers were still ready to borrow.”
Clare Beardmore, director at Legal and General Mortgage Club, said the sector would have to wait to see the full impact of last year’s market volatility but for now, transaction levels were healthy.
She added: “Our market is not without its challenges, however, there are plenty of reasons to be positive for the year ahead. Average mortgage rates have begun to fall again and lenders are keen to add to their loan books in a competitive lending market, which is all good news for consumers and represents a big opportunity for advisers to show their value.”