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Housing market bounces back as sales return to healthier levels

Since the end of summer, we’ve seen a few reports of falling property transactions, but now for some good news as HMRC reports a bounce-back in October.

Whether it’s Brexit urgency, competitive borrowing costs or a more affordable market that has encouraged people to get moving, the latest figures shine a positive light amid recent negative reports of the market.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has released new data showing that property transactions in October hit 103,680, representing a 4.3% rise (seasonally adjusted) from the previous year and the previous month. This is a big turnaround from previous data which implied that people were holding off on selling their properties, which was probably due to a cocktail of factors including the time of year, Brexit and waiting to see what happens to house prices.

Gareth Lewis, commercial director of property lender MT Finance, commented: “It is positive to see a marginal uplift in property transactions, particularly as there was an element of stagnation creeping into the market at the back end of the summer. There is activity in the marketplace, especially over the past couple of weeks, when we have seen a spike in transactions.

“There is nothing like an approaching year-end to focus the mind and spur people on to get things done. There is a bit of a buzz around as people try to close transactions by the end of the year. There was a worry that things would slow down dramatically until the election outcome was known, but thankfully this doesn’t seem to be the case.”

The UK property market remains a strong sector overall, and has demonstrated a huge amount of resilience in the face of recent political turmoil. Over the long term, huge levels of demand are likely to mean the market remains buoyant through the UK’s ongoing Brexit debate as well as the leadership contest, and it remains a lucrative place to invest.

Andrew Montlake, managing director of Coreco, said: “Extremely low borrowing costs, a strong jobs market and more affordable prices are underpinning activity in the market despite the political bedlam. We’re seeing a lot more people lock in to extremely competitive five-year fixed rate mortgages, which offer a medium-term hedge against the uncertainty of how Brexit will play out.”

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