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Transactions jump 2.7% in February: HMRC

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There were 101,780 residential property transactions in February according to the latest figures from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

That’s a 2.7 per cent increase on the same point last year, as well as a 1.7 per cent jump from January.

The taxman noted that besides 2016, when transactions jumped in the rush to beat the introduction of the higher rate of stamp duty on additional property purchases, “residential transactions in February have remained relatively stable over the previous five years.”

There was an even more significant jump in non-residential property purchases, with 10,650 transactions taking place in February, up by 2.1 per cent from last year and 6.7 per cent from January.

Swap rates mean mortgages are stable too

Jonathan Harris, director of Anderson Harris, admitted that February is never likely to be the busiest month of the year but argued that it is “holding up remarkably well” considering the effects of the “Brexit debacle” on buyer and seller sentiment.

He continued: “On the lending front, Swap rates are also fairly stable and therefore mortgage rates are as well. There is much speculation as to what will happen to rates in the next few months but for now mortgage rates are extremely competitive with plenty of attractive options for those brave enough to take the plunge.”

Gareth Lewis, commercial director of specialist lender MT Finance, said that month-on-month growth for the housing market was “no mean feat when you consider the ongoing farce that is Brexit”, noting the property market is ticking along regardless.

“There is no doom and gloom around it, there is still positive sentiment and people are transacting,” he added.

A short-lived downturn on the way?

Mike Scott, chief property analyst at online estate agent Yopa, said the figures confirm the “surprising strength” of the property market at the moment.

He concluded: “These sales will have been agreed in the autumn of 2018 when the Brexit deadline was less pressing, but the positive numbers suggest that any downturn in market activity due to the political uncertainty will be short-lived.”

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