House sales fall 13% between April and May
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has been adding up its stamp duty receipts and has concluded that the number of house sales in the UK fell by 13% in May, compared with April.
The month’s sales totalled around 100,000 while in April, the figure stood at 115,000.
Transactions were 37% down on May of 2007 marking the sharpest monthly decline in house sales since December 2006.
The figures are in line with data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders which recently reported that in April, house purchases accounted for 30% of the mortgage market, down from 44% a year earlier.
During the month, volumes of home mover loans rose 13% on March (to 32,300) but remained 38% below the April 2007 figure.
According to HMRC there were 504,000 sales above the new stamp duty notification limit of £40,000 in the first five months of 2008; last year, 743,000 sales were completed over the same period.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors is expecting the level of activity in the housing market to fall further over the coming months, impacting painfully on the wider UK economy.