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Residential property sales fell between December and January

The sale of homes in the UK saw a marked rise year-on-year in January, according to the latest reports, but
surprisingly fell between December and January, HMRC said.

Despite the fact many people expected to see a real rise in the volume of homes sold in December and January
because of a rush for rental stock ahead of the new tax rules in April of this year, HMRC’s figures show a 2.8 per
cent drop in sales between the two months.

However, while the fall is a surprise for many, experts are still saying that the annual increase in sales is evidence
enough that the Stamp Duty levy has had a positive effect on sales across the market, with many landlords
rushing to buy in January.

This has meant that seasonally adjusted sales figures for January show a 9.7 per cent increase when compared
to the same month just one year ago.

Doug Crawford, chief executive officer of My Home Move, said of the rise: “This could be accredited to a spike in
purchases by additional home buyers looking to escape the rise in Stamp Duty, set to be introduced in April. This
may continue to provide a short term boost for a matter of weeks.

“However, we are now explaining to new clients that it is too late to guarantee completion before April 1st.
Looking ahead, the question is whether the market will sustain this level of activity. Supply is likely to be the
biggest constraint, so new house building will remain critical,” he added.

And while this tax change is expected to slow the market somewhat in the next few months, some are predicting
that there will also be more uncertainty brought about by the political position in the UK.

With the EU referendum debates starting to become more frequent and visible in the news, Peter Rollings, chief
executive officer of Marsh & Parsons, said there could be a slowing in sales once more. Political uncertainty often
brings with it a slowing in the number of people looking to buy because they don’t know how the eventual
outcome will affect the price of homes.

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