Chancellor takes credit as property sales hit four-month high

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has claimed credit for a 15.6% monthly boost in property sales during August.

HMRC yesterday revealed that there were 81,280 property transactions during August, the highest figure since April.

Sunak said in a statement from the Treasury that this was helped by the Stamp Duty holiday he announced in July, claiming it has protected 750,000 jobs in the housing sector and wider supply chain, new figures revealed today.

Sunak said: “Every home sold means more jobs protected – helping us to deliver on our Plan for Jobs.

“But this isn’t just about the housing market.

“Owners doing up their homes to sell and buyers reinvesting Stamp Duty savings to make their new house feel like a home are also firing up local businesses, supporting, creating and protecting jobs across the country.”

Sunak failed to mention that the annual HMRC property figures show sales are down 23.9% annually and also that many of the sales in August were most likely set up before the Stamp Duty holiday came in.

Commenting on the data, Nick Leeming, chairman of Jackson-Stops, said: “With housing transactions taking weeks to progress from offer to completion, only transactions towards the end of August are likely to have been spurred on by this incentive.

“The housing market has been on a clear upward trajectory since it re-opened in May, with residential transactions up 15.6% in comparison to the month prior. Our own data is in line with the figures and shows a steady rise in market activity, with accepted offers and new listings up month on month across the Jackson-Stops network.

“Despite this, the lingering impact of the housing market lockdown is also clear.

“Residential transactions in August were still lagging behind 2019 figures, but we expect this to correct itself in the coming months with a flurry of transactions likely to be recorded in September.”

Leeming predicted more activity in the coming months as buyers look to make a purchase before the end of the Stamp Duty holiday in March 2021.

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