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

30th June 2023

  • The provisional seasonally adjusted estimate of the number of UK residential transactions in May 2023 is 80,020, 27% lower than May 2022 and 3% lower than April 2023
  • The provisional seasonally adjusted estimate of the number of UK non-residential transactions in May 2023 is 9,460, 16% lower than May 2022 and less than 1% lower than April 2023

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

“Today’s figures show a continuation of the low transaction levels we have become accustomed to in 2023, with the property market facing significant challenges including rising inflation rates and the high cost of borrowing. The downturn feels especially acute from the market recovery we witnessed after the coronavirus pandemic, remaining 27% down from a year ago in May 2022 for residential, and a 16% decrease in the commercial sector from the same period. In financially challenging times, debt continues to be a key driver in transaction volumes. The industry is seeking a sharp end to sticky inflation to provide more market stability across the rest of the year.

 “This step change in the wider market is a brilliant opportunity for introspection for the sector. Industry players must consider the speed at which it is adopting a digital first approach to all transactions for a competitive advantage, as clients’ digital expectations for a fast and efficient sale is only going one way. With interest rates widely expected to rise further by the end of the year, it is crucial that deals are completed in a timely fashion to limit the risk of fall throughs in the face of more economic disruption. For property lawyers, the digital transformation process will futureproof their service so that when transaction levels start to increase again, they are in the best position to capitalise on this quickly.”


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