HMRC transaction data reveals the number of residential property transactions has increased by 41.5% between February and March. The month’s seasonally adjusted figure is a whopping 70% higher compared with the same month last year.
Greg Bryce, managing director at SearchFlow, comments: “The increase was phenomenal and we witnessed an extraordinary surge to help our clients complete transactions last month. The spike in activity has been widely acknowledged to be due to the 3% surcharge introduced on 1 April for buy-to-let and second homes. In addition, buyers may also have been trying to beat new and much-anticipated restrictions on buy-to-let mortgages as a result of the forthcoming Bank of England reforms, expected to be rubber-stamped in the coming weeks.
“However, with transaction levels 70% higher than this time last year, we have seen the highest level of activity since the recession and whilst this significant uplift can be attributed to the buy-to-let surge to a certain extent, it should not detract from the fact that the market is clearly very buoyant. Over the last year, transaction levels have risen steadily. Whilst our clients do not anticipate this high level of activity to continue at this pace, our latest survey reveals that the majority are expecting transaction levels to continue to grow by over 10% in the next three months, despite any uncertainty surrounding a potential Brexit.
With the economy strong, employment level high, interest rates low and the economic and housing policies unlikely to change very much, the market looks set to remain buoyant.”