New research suggests that there was a rise in property transactions towards the end of last year, while over the course of 2016 as a whole, the market remained ‘resilient’ in the face of turbulent tax changes and political developments.
According to new data from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), December gave way to 97,250 transactions – up by 220 from November.
Over the course of the year, the Revenue recorded 1,231,120 residential transactions in total, representative of a significant rise over figures recorded over the last two years.
In 2015, there were 1,225,970 transactions recorded in comparison, while 2014 saw 1,225,120 transactions.
HMRC’s data reveals that, in 2016, the highest number of transactions took place in March – ahead of important changes to Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) which took effect in April, and now see buy-to-let investors hit with a three per cent tax surcharge upon purchasing second properties.
However, figures also suggest that property transactions rose in December.
Brian Murphy, head of lending for the Mortgage Advice Bureau said that “consumer confidence in bricks and mortar remains consistent”.
He added: “Of course, we won’t have sight of the January transaction figures until the third week in February, so it’s a bit too early to tell in terms of this trend continuing into 2017.
“But given borrower activity in December, it’s possible to suggest that many would-be purchasers were getting their ducks in a row before Christmas, ready to transact in the New Year”.
Zahra Himani, of OGR Stock Denton’s property team, added: “Our team has remained consistently busy of late, with the last quarter of 2016 being busier than the previous year, despite the changes to SDLT (however, it was early days still to really notice the effect).
“As time has passed, we are noticing a steady decline in buy to let purchases for first time investors and investors with smaller property portfolios, while serial investors are still very active.
“We look forward to seeing how the market moves over the coming months and are in regular talks with local agents to ensure that we are keeping up to date with any identifiable trends.”