Thanks George! New figures show sheer size of transactions crash after Stamp Duty hike

Housing transactions crashed in volume during April, official new figures reveal.

The consequences of the Stamp Duty surcharge on April 1 have been laid bare in the latest ONS/Land Registry house price index.

The latest report for June reveals housing transactions for April – the most up to date month for which data is available.

It shows just how sharp a drop followed the rush to beat the April 1 Stamp Duty deadline.

Former Chancellor George Osborne introduced the 3% hike on purchases of all second homes, including buy-to-let properties.

Sales volumes in the UK dipped from 124,295 in March 2016 to 56,076 in April.

English regions saw falls of up to 70% as the table shows, led by London where volumes tumbled from 14,783 in March to 4,368 in April.

Some London boroughs had falls of more than 80%. For example, in Kensington and Chelsea there was an 88% drop in volume from 393 to 46 between March and April.

Transactions in Camden were down 73% from 365 to 95.

The smallest regional fall in England was in Yorkshire & Humber where volumes fell 48% between March and April.

Buying agent Henry Pryor took the opportunity to call on new chancellor Philip Hammond to sort out the mess, tweeting him to “wake up” and recognise that stamp duty is “killing the market.”

But Savills’ analyst Neal Hudson called for calm, saying: “Let’s not get over-excited by comparing April to the March SDLT spike in transactions.”

* See also our analysis in today’s news schedule



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  1. JMK

    “Sales volumes in the UK dipped from 124,295 in March 2016 to 56,076 in April.”

    That’s a 54% drop!

    1. KatieHatten85

      We need to be a weeny bit cautious not to read too much into this, obviously there was a mad rush ahead of the change which would naturally cause a slump in the following month – we need to see the next few months figures to be able to read the situation correctly.

    2. JMK

      How curious to get all those dislikes.  Do people not like maths?

      1. PeeBee

        It’s not the maths they don’t like…

        …it’s when others suss that the correct answers to the sums don’t add up in their favour they get shirty about it.

  2. clarky46

    Dramatic figures but still a ‘snapshot’. Were the March figures not distorted by B2L buyers bringing forward purchases?

  3. PeeBee

    Perhaps Mr Shoffman would be good enough to provide the same figures for 2015, 2014 and 2013 in order to give a balanced view?

    1. PeeBee

      I will assume that the ‘Dislike’ comes from my trusty Plank, and certainly not the author of the article…

  4. Will

    This was totally predicable and a similar scenario occurred in 1988 when Nigel Lawson, the then conservative chancellor, abolished multiple tax relief on mortgages and triggered a recession and a major fall in property prices. Those who jumped in to buy just before the change were the worst affected and lost most. History does repeat itself and one of the reasons I so strongly oppose rent controls!!!! I’m old enough to have seen the consequences.

    1. Property Paddy

      Will, you are old !

      I was there too, in Belsize Park. August 1st 1988 the phones simply stopped ringing in.

      then 1992 they started again.

      Now I’m feeling really old !

      Which will come first the housing market normalising (if there is such a thing any more) or me retiring (well over due).



      1. Will

        I guess it will be happy retirement then!!!    Very Best Wishes.

    2. Estate Agent W1

      I think it was also the BES (Business Expansion Scheme) that also finished around  the same time that put the final nail in the coffin to the late 80’s market. When government meddles in property the market suffers.

  5. Client1st

    Yes. the March spike is also confusing the BREXIT effect.

  6. Mark Walker

    I think that what is now being used as the “Brexit” excuse for the quietening of the market is really caused by the Stamp Duty increase deadline.  We did 50% of the year’s business in the first 25% of the year and now we are seeing the other 50% of the year’s business stretched over the other 75% of this year.

    1. mrharvey

      Comment of the week in my opinion. Absolutely spot on.

  7. Mark Connelly

    Marc Shoffman, you don’t need a quote from Mr Pryor every week. I doesn’t make an article any more credible.

    Also Peebees request for direct comparable data is a must if this article is to mean anything. Comparing March and April after such a massive distortion to the market is frankly pointless.

  8. PeeBee


    I’ve had a look at the ONS and Land Reg historic figures.  Time to crunch some numbers.

    In order to compare eggs with eggs I have had to keep the figures to England & Wales only.  Sorry- but I can’t be chuffed with hunting out the stats for Scotland & NI.

    Year                                            April                                   March                          Total

    2016                                           45332                                107599                         152931

    2015                                           61396                                  70847                         132243

    2014                                           66659                                  63587                         130246

    2013                                           51022                                  54708                         105730

    2012                                           43252                                  61334                         104586

    SO… what can be reasonably deduced from the above is that:

    1.  April transactions fell back to 2012 levels;

    2.  The month of March performed better than both March AND April did in 2012 and 2013;

    3.  May will be another month, with another statistic to debate.

    Hope people find this helpful.


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