Sales fall 27% in December

Figures out today show that sales of properties across the UK fell 26.8% last month compared to the end of 2009 underlining just how difficult the housing market is as we enter 2011. The numbers produced in such a timely fashion by the tax man records just 71,000 sales in the month before Christmas compared to 97,000 in December 2009.

“Part of this is explained by the last minute rush of buyers at the end of 2009 eager to complete before the so-called Stamp Duty holiday closed in January 2010” says Housing Expert Henry Pryor. “For more than a year before the threshold over which Stamp Duty became payable had been raised to £175,000. Last year this returned to the historic £125,000.”.

“The total number of homes sold in the UK during 2010 increased slightly to 884,000 but this remains half the volumes traded in 2006 and 2007 where over 1.6m were sold each year.” Pryor concludes;- “Low sales volumes remain of greater concern than falling prices through the year ahead. With a rise in Stamp Duty for homes bought over £1m coming in April and the effects of the Government Spending Review starting to percolate into the market real concerns remain over the size of price falls and the impact on the wider economy.