House sales fall in latest blow to nervous UK property market

“Lenders are lowering short-term rates, with nine lenders alone repricing on Monday,” Harris said. “The ‘big six’ want to avoid being the best because of the volume of business it attracts, which in turn impacts service levels.”

The decline in property sales was driven by a particularly sharp drop in England, where transactions fell 12% month-on-month. In Scotland, on the other hand, sales increased by 6%.

Year-over-year, domestic sales fell 12%, but that’s against records set in 2021 as shoppers rush to take advantage of temporary tax savings.

But homes are still being bought and sold at a much higher rate than before the pandemic. In the UK, there were 106,780 completions, up 9% from April 2019.

Nick Leeming, of Jackson-Stops realtors, said: “Certainly the first quarter of 2022 was the peak of post-pandemic excitement.”

First-time buyers will feel the pressures of inflation, which has now hit a 40-year high, more keenly, Mr Leeming added. This will hit bottom-end demand, which will filter through the market, he said.

Karen Noye of Quilter Wealth Managers said the full impact of the cost of living crisis has yet to hit the market.

“So far, the housing market has defied expectations and real estate transactions remain high. However, the cost of living crisis will surely be its biggest test yet.

Penny D. Jackson