Search Acumen comments on HMRC’s property transactions data for February 2024

5th April 2024

  • The seasonally adjusted estimate of UK residential transactions in February shows a 1% increase compared to January 2024 – non-seasonally adjusted this figure changes to a 9% increase compared to the previous month.
  • The seasonally adjusted estimate of UK non-residential (commercial) transactions in February shows a 6% increase compared to January 2024 – non-seasonally adjusted this figure changes to an 8% increase compared to the previous month.

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


“We are starting to see early green shoots of spring in today’s residential transaction figures, signs that the market is bouncing back from a difficult period constrained by affordability and supply last year. We can take some confidence in the gentle recovery of the market as potential movers are encouraged by falls in mortgage rates and a more stable macro-economic environment.

“The commercial landscape has exhibited a degree more resilience compared to previous months, with non-residential transactions up 6% on last month, but down 3% annually. Whilst this modest uplift may inspire some confidence with investors, high borrowing costs continue to put a handbrake on larger commercial deals. Pockets of the market, such as Technology and Life Sciences, are prospering, partially in response to the Government’s ambitions to create the ‘Silicon Valley of the UK’ in the Golden Triangle. Our latest research found that commercial property values in Cambridge have climbed 44% over the last five years, despite a 20% fall in transaction volumes, demonstrating a hot market of high demand and limited supply.  

“In this challenging climate, demand must be capitalised on wherever possible, and every deal must be pushed forward unencumbered by delays. The property industry must urgently embrace technology and process innovation to maintain deal flow and support the overwhelmed Land Registry. Recent research shows that both homeowners and developers alike are experiencing delays of up to two years for registrations to complete in some cases. However, we can no longer afford to be slowed by antiquated paper-chasing and operational siloes. Fully digitising transactions across the value chain is key to injecting vitality and rekindling growth across sectors. With this in mind, we welcome the recent announcement this week from the Levelling Up Committee launching an inquiry on improving the home buying and selling process, identifying long term digitisation reform as a fundamental necessity for industry progress.

“Without decisive action to enhance efficiency and affordability, the coming months risk a prolonged property limbo.”

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