Sales and mortgage approvals both down

Housing transactions have fallen 19% year-on-year according to the latest data from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).


Figures published today show the non-seasonally adjusted estimate of UK residential transactions for September was 92,600, 19% lower than September 2022 and 2% lower than August 2023.

The seasonally adjusted estimate of residential transactions for September 2023 is 85,610, which reflects a 17% decrease compared to September 2022 and a 1% decline from August 2023.This marks the first month-on-month decrease in seasonally adjusted residential transactions since May 2023.

The fall in transactions is the latest indicator of a slowing down in the market.

Bank of England figures published yesterday showed mortgage approvals sank in September to their lowest level since January 2023. Net mortgage approvals fell to 43,300 from 45,400 the previous month. 

Meanwhile Zoopla has warned that sales are on track to fall 23% in 2023 compared to last year.

>>See also: Home sales ‘set to fall by nearly a quarter’

Frances McDonald, director of research at Savills, said: “Despite an improvement in mortgage rates since the summer, transaction levels continue to be subdued as buyers remain cautious, adjusting their budgets to a higher interest rate environment.

“Cash buyers have been taking an increasing share of the market (42% so far this year) and those with existing housing equity or higher levels of wealth have been better able to transact in the current market. September’s muted mortgage approval numbers suggest this trend is likely to continue for at least the remainder 2023”.

McDonald said that transaction levels are expected to improve once there is a more significant decline in mortgage rates.