Property News

Fewer Properties Sold over the Past Year, According to Stamp Duty Data

Rose Jinks - February 4, 2019

Fewer properties were sold over the year to the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2018, compared to the same period of the previous year, according to the latest Quarterly Stamp Duty Land Tax Statistics from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

On a quarterly basis, property transactions increased by 3% to 316,200 between Q3-Q4 2018, but were down by 5% on an annual basis. HMRC notes that this is partially due to the devolution of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) to Wales in April last year.

Q4 2018 Stamp Duty receipts totalled £3,291m, which is 3% higher than in the previous quarter, but down by 5% on Q4 2017. Residential property receipts remained broadly the same on a quarterly basis, while non-residential receipts rose in value by £102m.

60,700 transactions claimed first time buyer Stamp Duty relief in Q4, making a total of 241,300 claims since the relief’s introduction. The estimated total amount relieved is £570m.

Liable residential property sales in Q4 were 38,600 lower than in the same quarter of 2017, with most of this fall being seen in the under-£250,000 band. This partly reflects devolution of SDLT to Wales.

Non-liable transactions have increased by around 23,700 since 2017, due largely to the first time buyer relief.

90% of all Stamp Duty transactions were for residential properties in Q4. Between Q3-Q4, sales rose by 2% (6,500) to 286,000, but were down by 5% (14,900) on Q4 2017.

Since Q1 2018, only two thirds of residential sales were liable for Stamp Duty, which is the lowest proportion since Q1 2014. This reflects recent changes in Stamp Duty rates; liable transactions increased in Q3 2016, due to the new rates on additional properties, but dropped in Q4 2017 when the first time buyer relief increased the liable threshold to £300,000.

Additional dwellings are required to pay the standard rate of Stamp Duty, plus 3%. Between Q3-Q4, transactions for this type of property, including buy-to-let, rose by 3%, to 60,000. However, compared to Q4 2017, they have fallen by 8% (5,300).

For the past four quarters, additional property transactions have accounted for around 33% of all liable sales, and have generally increased as a proportion of residential transactions.