hmrc

The provisional non-seasonally adjusted estimate of UK residential transactions in December 2021 was 113,470, 14.6% lower than December 2020, according to the monthly property transactions data from HMRC.

However, the number of transactions in December was 11.8% higher than November 2021.

The provisional non-seasonally adjusted estimate of UK non-residential transactions in December 2021 was 11,780, 7.4% higher than December 2020 and 12.9% higher than November 2021.

According to HMRC, the provisional seasonally adjusted estimate of UK residential transactions in December 2021 was 100,110, 20.0% lower than December 2020, but 7.6% higher than November 2021.

The provisional seasonally adjusted estimate of UK non-residential transactions in December 2021 was 9,760, 3.4% higher than December 2020 and 4.1% lower than November 2021.

Stuart Wilson, corporate marketing director at more2life, said: “December wrapped up a bumper year for the mortgage market and the later life lending sector continued to play a significant role in its success.

“The latest figures from Key show that the equity release market had a record year by breaking the £4bn barrier for the first time.

“Much of this activity was buoyed by the stamp duty holiday, with almost one in four (22%) equity release customers using housing equity to gift to a loved one to help with property purchase deposits.

“On top of this, at more2life, we have seen an increase in the number of older homeowners using equity release to help purchase their ‘forever’ home over the last year.

“Buyers in later life are often keen to move closer to family and friends, or to a property that can be adapted to suit their needs and mobility, and equity release can be a fantastic way to boost their buying power.

“However, releasing equity to fund a house purchase remains an under-used benefit of lifetime mortgages and advisers have a vital role to play in educating clients on the varied uses of equity release.”

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, added: “These numbers interestingly demonstrate market strength and resilience even in the build-up to Christmas and withdrawal of government economic support in September.

“Transactions are always a better measure of property market health than more volatile house prices.

“However, we have moved on since December. Activity and price rises are slowing a little, not least because of the continuing shortage of stock but concerns about rising inflation and mortgage rates is also compromising confidence when it comes to taking on debt.

“Looking forward, sales will pick up if homeowners can be persuaded to put their properties up for sale at perhaps more realistic levels, as there is no doubt that demand is still strong.”

Andrew Montlake, managing director of Coreco, said: “Transactions in December 2020 were given a phenomenal boost by the stamp duty holiday, so it’s no surprise that transactions last month were down in comparison.

“The fact that transactions were up on November is a better reflection of where the market is at. Rock-bottom interest rates, a robust jobs market and the ongoing race for space gave the market rocket fuel last year.

“There are many red flags ahead in 2022, especially with rising interest rates and soaring inflation, but borrowing rates remain exceptionally low and that will support demand and transactions moving forward.”

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