Annual Property Sales Crash by 40% due to Stamp Duty Hike
The number of UK residential property sales in March 2017 crashed by 40% on an annual basis, due to last year’s Stamp Duty hike.
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) data for March this year showed that 102,740 property sales were completed during the month, compared with 173,860 in March last year.
Figures for March 2016 were skewed, however, by a rush of second homebuyers and buy-to-let landlords to complete purchases ahead of the increase in Stamp Duty. Additional homes are now charged an extra 3% in Stamp Duty upon completion.
Nonetheless, this year’s figure for March was still up by 20% on a monthly basis, and 12% higher than in March two years ago, when there were 91,490 property transactions.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, there were 102,810 property sales in March this year, also around 40% lower than 12 months ago, as these figures typically fall in line with the non-seasonally adjusted number at this time of year.
Matt Robinson, of online estate agent Nested, comments on the property sales statistics: “These figures show a property market that remains stubbornly flat. Now that we have a General Election around the corner, many will be worried that a fresh dose of uncertainty could take the wind out of the market’s sails.
“However, there’s a much bigger picture here that politicians need to address – we have a broken housing market, where young people struggle to afford a deposit, and where moving home is an expensive and deeply frustrating process that nobody relishes.”
However, he insists: “But it doesn’t have to be this way; the election is a golden opportunity for all sides to spell out how they can make it easier for people to move and get on the ladder.”
Following last year’s Stamp Duty hike, has your activity in the property market slowed down?