This month saw the highest rise in interest rates for 14 years as the Bank of England hiked them to 3%, with further increases expected next year. What’s more, of course, we’re all facing higher food, fuel and energy bills as prices and incomes struggle to keep pace.
In the midst of this cost-of-living crisis, you could be forgiven for thinking there weren’t many reasons for feeling optimistic about Britain’s property market as the season of festive cheer approaches. In fact, there are more reasons to be cheerful than you may have realised.
For while property transactions did slow down last month, they remain higher than pre-Covid levels, according to information from the UK’s tax authority.
HMRC reports are based on Stamp Duty returns, and the latest figures calculate that there were more than 110,850 property sales last month (we should add that these figures have not been seasonally adjusted).
That statistic actually represents an annual rise of more than 25% (29%) when compared with the end of last year’s Stamp Duty holiday, and down just 3% when considered in monthly terms.
Then if you adjust the information seasonally, it’s even better news, showing a yearly increase of more than a third (38%), and a monthly rise of 2% to 108,480.
What the HMRC report also highlights is that yearly comparisons have been rather skewed by the 2021 Stamp Duty suspension; equally, it shows that it’s too early to reflect the increased mortgage rates in this information.
And while 110,850 is lower than October 2020’s recorded figure of 121,740, it’s nevertheless higher than the 107,100 sales HMRC noted in the autumn of 2019. (According to the taxman, from October 2017 to 2019, sales volumes typically fell between 107,000 and 109,000.)
Commenting via a leading website for the industry, one sector insider pointed out that the supply issues in the housing market keep demand buoyant, making it unlikely that prices will drop off a cliff-edge anytime soon.
And with some political stability seemingly returning, there is no evidence that people have stopped moving house. What’s more, any seasonal dips would be entirely to be expected at this time of year.
Property data firm TwentyCi says the 407,956 properties currently listed on the market across the UK as being for sale represent a rise of 0.53% compared to three years ago, although many regions have seen drops in listings. The company added that the end of 2022 could be a revealing time in terms of understanding what effect the current mortgage rates will have on the market overall.
We were certainly heartened by the recent HMRC report, which proved what we already suspected – that the property market doesn’t have to present a picture of complete doom and gloom, despite the pressures and challenges we’re all facing.
Across our offices in Hastings, Eastbourne and Bexhill, business has been strong throughout 2022. And, here at Oakfield, we’re always happy to answer any queries you may have about your proposed property transaction, and offer a quarter-century of experience in the local industry.
Give us a call today to discuss your needs. Or if you’re considering selling, book a no-obligation valuation right now and we’ll take it from there.