A key indication to the health of the property market is always transaction numbers, with healthy transactions pointing towards a strong marketplace with serious buyers. In April this year, there were an estimated 64,000 transactions which represents a 4% increase in transactions from the same point last year, according to LSL and Acadata.
With a marked increase in transaction numbers, the market is proving to be extremely resilient in a turbulent political landscape. Strong first-time buyer activity in the marketplace, with many taking advantage of the Government Help-To-Buy scheme, as well as the changes to Stamp Duty encouraging purchases. Indeed, only 65% of transactions were reported as liable for Stamp Duty during the first quarter of this year.
Supporting this increase in transaction volumes is an extremely solvent mortgage market, with more money being injected into the housing market in May 2019 than at any point since 2017. In May this year almost £9bn of home-purchase mortgages were approved by banks and lenders, which is 6% higher than the previous month and an 11% increase on the same time last year.
“April’s marked rise in mortgage approvals suggests that housing market activity may well have got at least some temporary support from the avoidance of a disruptive Brexit at the end of March,” said Howard Archer, chief economic adviser at EY ITEM Club, an economic forecasting group.
It seems that the sentiment in the market is that both buyers and sellers are somewhat fed up of waiting for a Brexit resolution, and are therefore eager to carry on with their property transactions in the present rather than biding their time.
Jonathan Harris, director of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, agrees with this assertion, commenting that: “As the politicians continue to argue and don’t seem any closer to a resolution, people are finally getting the message that they need to get on with their lives and not rely on what is going on in Westminster and beyond,’ he said.
“Lenders remain keen to lend and there are some very attractive rates to tempt borrowers brave enough to take the plunge.”