UK property market cools but house prices remain high

·Business Reporter, Yahoo Finance UK
·3-min read
Alresford, Hampshire, England, UK (House prices)
November saw a slight bounce from the previous month’s figures after a significant decrease in October due to the end of the stamp duty holiday. Photo: Peter Titmuss/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty

The UK property market suffered a fall in transactions last month following the end of the government’s stamp duty holiday.

According to the latest figures from HMRC, residential transactions in November stood at 96,290, 16.4% lower than the same period last year. However, this was 24.3% higher than October.

Residential property refers to buildings used or suitable for use as a dwelling, or in the process of being constructed for use as a dwelling. It also includes the gardens and grounds of dwellings.

Non-residential transactions, which included commercial property and agricultural land, were 15.9% up year-on-year, and 9% higher than the month before, the data showed.

Read more: UK house prices forecast to rise 5% in 2022

November saw a slight bounce from the previous month’s figures after a significant decrease in October due to the end of the stamp duty holiday.

Watch: What do stamp duty cuts mean for buyers and house prices?

September was the final month buyers could benefit from the government’s stamp duty holiday, a tax break designed to prop up the housing market, and help consumers as the economy contracted during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

The holiday was extended from 31 March 2021 to the end of June and once more, tapering from June to the end of September, as people rushed to market.

Housebuyers could have cashed in on savings of up to £15,000 ($20,230) if they bought at the right time.

The break caused a frenzy in the market, with many using it as an excuse to make long-awaited moves or buy for the first time. However, some said that with climbing house prices over the past year the discount was quickly priced in and that it "distorted" the market.

It comes as average house prices in the UK increased by 10.2% in the year to October, the third month of double-figure growth, however this was down from 12.3% the month before.

The most recent figures from HM Land Registry UK House Price Index showed the average house price came in at £268,000 which was £24,000 higher than the same time last year.

Read more: European stock markets rebound after sharp sell-off

But this was lower than the record level of £271,000 the month before as people rushed to close deals before the end of the stamp duty holiday in September.

Prices increased by 9.8% in England overall, while Wales saw a 15.5% rise and Scotland and Northern Ireland climbed 11.3% and 10.7% respectively. Northern Ireland remained the cheapest UK country to purchase a property in, with the average house price at £159,000.

Meanwhile, the number of people getting new later life mortgages fell in the third quarter of the year.

According to UK Finance, there were 44,130 later life mortgages, with total lending in the quarter coming in at £6.46bn ($8.6bn). This represented a 7% decrease in mortgage volumes, when compared to the three months prior.

Overall, lifetime mortgage volumes have remained modestly lower than prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the research showed, but this reduction is expected to be temporary as the UK economy recovers.

The figures for Q3, however, did represent a 6% increase compared to volumes at the same time last year.

Watch: How much money do I need to buy a house?

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