Search Acumen comments on HMRC’s property transactions data for August 2023

29th September 2023

Andy Sommerville , Director at Search Acumen, the property data and insight provider, comments:

Today’s HMRC transaction results are indicative of a property market that isn’t immune to macroeconomics. We have seen transaction volumes yoyo over the last six months as a result of instability in the financial markets and consumer confidence, with some sectors of the commercial market fairing better than others. We have seen deal volumes falling by over 60%* in six months which has been largely driven by London’s office markets. This in part is down to permanent post-pandemic social changes that the built environment is playing catch up on. Widescale adaptation of a market to suit current trends is a mean feat to achieve, so some of this instability will only work itself out in the long term. However, we must see improvements in the short term, too, if we are to be able to celebrate some more positive headlines for the property sector. One green shoot to hold on to is that average retail and leisure deal values rose 20% in the last six months, driven by shop deal values soaring 138%* – likely a driving factor behind the modest increase in transactions from July to August this year.

For the property market to have a much more resilient future, it must pull on the levers available to initiate change. It is crucial that we examine the buying and selling process, which can be a headache for many developers and investors who are trying to get the market back on its feet, and quick. Slow, complicated and unclear transaction processes are causing problems in deal timelines and often resulting in costly delays at a time when most companies don’t have it to spare. This is why, more than ever, we are continuing to push for digitalisation in the market, to ease the pressure on real estate lawyers and the process as a whole, so more deals can be completed with speed, efficiency, and accuracy every time.

*Source: Property Week, 28 September 2023 –


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