HMRC has reported that the provisional seasonally adjusted estimate of UK residential property transactions in May 2020 is 48,450, 49.6% lower than May 2019 and 16.0% higher than April 2020.
Meanwhile, the estimate of UK non-residential property transactions in May 2020 is 5,880, 42.2% lower than May 2019 and 14.1% higher than April 2020.
Andrew Southern, chairman of property developer Southern Grove, said: “The level of transactions still looks decidedly muted but a 16% monthly increase is actually relatively good.
“Last week the UK celebrated a sales bounce in the retail sector of 12% month-on-month. This means a reawakened property market has put the wider UK retail sector’s rebound in the shade even though the residential market only reopened half way through May.
“The vast majority of these transactions will represent sales put on hold by the coronavirus shut down so, at this point, HMRC’s figures are not an indicator of how buyers and sellers are flooding back to the market. Housebuilders should be confident that this is, in fact, happening with data from property portals suggesting high levels of listings, strong asking prices and agreed sales that are coming remarkably close to those valuations.
“The HMRC figures to watch will come much later in the autumn when they will reflect the post-lockdown activity of May and June but housebuilders are likely to have read the signals by then and begun investing in their pipeline with a degree of confidence again. The fundamentals of this market haven’t changed.”