Search Acumen (property data insight and technology provider) comments on HMRC’s property transactions data for January 2023:
- The seasonally adjusted estimate of UK residential transactions in January 2023 shows a 3% decrease compared to December 2022 – non-seasonally adjusted this figure changes to a 27% decrease compared to the previous month.
- The seasonally adjusted estimate of UK non-residential transactions in January 2023 shows a 3% increase compared to December 2022 – non-seasonally adjusted this figure changes to an 18% decrease compared to the previous month..
Andy Sommerville, Director at Search Acumen, the property data and insight provider, comments:
“As we look at the first property transaction figures of 2023, we see a continuation in the trends seen towards the end of last year, as volumes decline against the great heights witnessed in the early months of 2021 and 2022 – a time when the industry raced to catch up with unprecedented demand. Comparatively, times today feel exceptionally tough for the market, reflected in declining consumer confidence as the cost-of-living crisis beds in via ever increasing bills and high borrowing rates.
“A green shoot of hope is the better-than-expected macro-economic figures, allowing the UK to avoid a recession, albeit within in hairs breath. This has given banks more confidence to lend, and homeowners the motivation to keep going with their move. With the Budget approaching and a new housing minister in place, looking ahead we hope that the property industry may receive the stability it has been craving for some time.
“Commercial property transactions are seemingly outpacing residential at present, however we’ve seen, for example, office spaces rapidly decrease in value over the last few months which might not be reflected in data until the Spring. The great unknown here is the effect of what more Land Registry strikes will have on transaction volumes in future datasets, putting added strain on this public service which may cause details in registrations. What this means for conveyancers, and every stakeholder within an ongoing transaction, is that they need to stay one step ahead.
“As the number of transactions mellow, conveyancing firms will, more than ever, need to maintain their competitive advantage, where no firm can afford to lose momentum. With increasingly complex transactions, longer chains, and greater risks, how each firm fares in the months ahead will be defined by how streamlined their transaction process can be and their continued investment in tech innovation as a tool for efficiency and cost saving in challenging times. We already have technology to digitise property data and automate the transaction process through AI, taking tasks that took weeks, and delivering them in seconds. As we continue to see the trends of 2022 ushered into a new year, now more than ever the property sector needs to embrace technology to future-proof businesses, keep markets moving, and support everyday buyers and sellers facing significant financial pressures.”