February property sales hit four-year high ahead of coronavirus outbreak

HMRC recorded the highest number of completions for February since 2016 as it gave a glimpse of the property market in the run-up to the coronavirus outbreak in the UK.

The taxman’s UK property transactions statistics for February suggests seasonally adjusted sales were up 6% annually last month and 4.5% since January to 103,870.

This is the highest figure for the month for four years when there was a rush of sales before the introduction of the additional Stamp Duty rate.

Sales increased across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, sales were up 8.4% annually and increased 14.1% since January to 86,980.

But much has changed in the market since February as the coronavirus outbreak hit the UK.

The UK is now in lockdown – albeit not as strict as other countries – which could mean completions are delayed and offers fall through in the coming months.

Commenting on the data, Ben Johnston, director of off-market property app Houso, said: “It is hard to see how there is capacity for any property transactions in the next quarter – agents can’t list, can’t undertake viewings and people can’t move.

“There could potentially be some transactions completing that are pre-coronavirus but still the logistics of moving are impossible with the current restrictions.

“Having said that, we are seeing genuine interest from home sellers and expect more in coming days as people are confined at home with time on their hands.”

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One Comment

  1. SamH

    Encouraging news for the come back once we’re through the next few months.

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