Latest transaction figures deliver ‘reality check’ for property market

Residential property transactions dropped 8% in April 2023 compared to the previous month, the latest HMRC figures have revealed.

Across the UK, there were 82,120 home sales in April, according to the provisional seasonally adjusted estimate. As well as being lower than the March total of 89,560 (which was a 1% increase on the previous month), it represents a 25% decline on the figure for April 2022.

According to HMRC’s non-seasonally adjusted estimate, meanwhile, there were 67,220 transactions in April, which was 29% lower than March and 32% down year-on-year.

The HMRC executive summary accompanying the figures noted that the fall in both seasonally adjusted and non-seasonally adjusted transactions appeared to be “particularly large”, adding that this was “partly due to the relative strength of March”. 

The number of transactions in March was high due to “a combination of factors” including a larger number of working days relative to April and the final month for purchases to be completed under the government’s Help To Buy Equity Loan Scheme, the summary said.

Commenting on the latest figures, Chris Druce, senior research analyst at Knight Frank, said: “A fall in monthly property transactions, albeit after March’s performance was bolstered by the deadline for Help to Buy completions, provides a reality check for the health of the market.

“An improved economic outlook and solid jobs market has supported buyer sentiment in recent months and created an active spring sales market, after the mini-Budget knocked the sector off course last year.

“However, the cost of a mortgage is significantly higher than 18 months ago, and more pain will enter the system this year as people’s fixed-rate mortgage deals come up for renewal. With expectations of further rate rises ahead after last week’s inflation figures, and an increase in supply, we think property prices will fall by a few percent this year,” Druce added.

Simon Webb, from mortgage lender LiveMore, said: “Property transactions continue to fall following a month-on-month rise in March primarily due to more working days compared to February and April.

“The slowdown is likely to continue as uncertainty in the economy, along with the high cost of living and rising mortgage rates, will put some people off moving home. Until inflation comes down to more palatable levels and the base rate reduces, we expect 2023 to deliver a subdued housing market.”


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  1. Chris Watkin

    NON NEWS – These are the completions  for April 2023, which will be much lower as we had all the sale fall thrus in Q4 last year. Looking at sale agreed figures (ie sold stc) Last week was the best for residential house sales since the Summer of 2022 with 26,861 sales agreed for the week (up 1.97% from last week Gross sales). The 2023 Running Weekly Average for sale agreeds is 22,125.

    1. Robert_May

      You can Pollyanna SSTC numbers all you like, completions pay the bills.

      Transaction volumes and transaction price achieved determine what agents earn, Dismissing completions as non news in a shouty voice doesn’t change that for a lot of agents completion income is down to levels last seen in 2008.

      N.B posting balance isn’t trolling- no need to do that whole scripted routine for dealing with trolls and people who disagree with you

      1. Chris Watkin


        I 100% agree with you the completions pay the wages and Q1 for many agents was truly awful for cash flow because of the high number of sale fall thrus in Q4 (an average of 38.7% fall thru rate in Q4 compared to a 7 year year long term average 24.3%).

        Was I being dismissive, well in hindsight I could toned that part down one notch – but when you read the article and the doom mongery newspaper headlines .. the optimistic side of me comes out

        You then suggest I am over optimistic (with your pollyanna reference) on the sale agreed figures … of course sale agreed pipelines are like a house of cards and could collapse over night … yet you still need a sale agreed to make a completion…and 2023 for sale agreed has been so far, very good (we are a Country 94.5% of the 2017/8/9 average for net sales – ie sales after fall thrus). So I posted those figures because with most of the newspapers on a doom monger trajectory to hell .. I want to tell the story of the good that is happening. Give it some balance

        Could it all go t*ts up??? – yes!

        Just because I’m optimistic, doesn’t mean I’m naive to reality.

        I’m just aware of the opportunities and the possibilities that can be nurtured through optimism, clarity, and execution. There’s nothing wrong with optimism.  It’s better to be optimistic and wrong than pessimistic and right.

        And if things do go t*ts up, there will still be a property market and the best estate agents will thrive ..again, me being optimistic

        Next you say Shouty Voice??? – two words headline to grab people attention –

        Finally, I also agree that someone that disagrees is not trolling .. I never for one second saw your reply as a troll post. Quite the opposite. I have known you for 9 years and think the world of you Robert and what you tried to with Rummage.

        So please keep posting and replying to stuff if you disagree

        I have many friends in and out of the industry that I disagree with, yet disagreements mean the end of friendships.  You can still be friends with someone even if you disagree about certain topics. Just because someone has different beliefs or views from you doesn’t mean you have to be enemies either.

        It’s like my friendship with Charlie Lamdin. we agree on loads and totally disagree on others. Yet having a fundamental disagreement with someone doesn’t need to mean the end of a friendship.  It can actually create a stronger bond.  Why?  We learn to embrace, challenge, and understand each other’s different perspectives better, leading to a richer friendship.

        So thank you Robert …and finally – let’s bring it back to transactions (which are important) … where do you see the number of transactions ending in Dec 2023?

        1. Robert_May

          “So please keep posting and replying to stuff if you disagree” it’s not me that needs convincing, Peebee, Property Pundit, Hillofwad, Smile Please, Wardy, Shaun77, Ampersat, Gourmand Gossip, Lufluv- hundreds and hundreds of regulars who used to post but now don’t

          It’s Nick and John’s site to do as they please with but the comments were part of the draw.  I appreciate some people didn’t appreciate the audience didn’t give them the respect they thought they were due but there was very little trolling and very little rudeness that wasn’t contained by the posters.

          Ros departing had an effect but the double authentication process  really killed off engagement here


          1. OldAgent

            “..the double authentication process  really killed off engagement here”

            Totally agree. Whether 2FA was necessary or not can be debated but, as you say, this is Nick’s site and decision.

            Other sites require 2FA for new users but also offer the opportunity to have the site leave a cookie on your machine so that, for a period of time, 2FA is not required for returning visitors.

            Personally, I find 2FA tiresome but I accept that it is necessary or useful in some circumstances but I wonder if the compromise suggested above might strike a balance between security and being more user friendly and encouraging engagement and comments.

            I recognise that I am not a particularly prolific commenter but there have been a number of occasions when I have been inclined to add something but was deterred by the 2FA process.

            Just a thought for Nick!

            1. Nick Salmon, M.D. Property Industry Eye

              We have some changes in progress that will help alleviate some of the tiresomeness of the 2FA. Watch this space.

  2. EAMD172

    Replying to Mr May. We obviously all know that but releasing completion details as an indication of current market conditions is misleading as the statement talks about ‘home sales in April’. To most people that suggests sales agreed. These statements must be clearer bearing in mind the volatility of the market and the length of time transactions are taking. Essentially these figures are commenting on the state of the market in November/December 2022. We all know that a great deal has changed since then. Even comparing them to last year is misleading as the market was red hot so the figures are sensationalist. Using the word completions rather than transactions would really help.

    1. Robert_May

      I agree with all that. the professionals in the industry are  far to accepting of the misleading nonsense pumped out by Land Registry and ONS, stuff that’s then regurgitated by every Jo/Joe Blow  commentator who has column cms or bandwidth to fill.

  3. Bless You

    Where did you find that data?



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