House sales dropped 21% in October

House prices

In the financial year so far, April to October, an estimated 589,470 home sales have taken place

The number of home sales in October was 21 per cent lower than the same month last year, figures from HMRC show.

Higher interest rates are continuing to hold back hopeful buyers, but there is hope on the horizon with mortgage rates edging down, housing experts have said.

Across the UK, an estimated 82,910 house sales took place in October, which was also 3 per cent lower than September.

In the financial year so far, April to October, an estimated 589,470 home sales have taken place.

It marks the lowest number of transactions at this point in the year since 2020.

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: Transaction numbers have slid again in the face of higher interest rates and the cost of living, as borrowers re-evaluate what they can afford to pay.

Encouragingly, new mortgage rates are going downwards, with fixed rates looking increasingly attractive, he said.

However, borrowers do have to accept that they will pay significantly more now than in the heady days of sub-1 per cent mortgages, he added.

BoE policymakers decided earlier this month to hold UK interest rates at 5.25 per cent.

Rates have risen by five percentage points since the end of 2021, meaning borrowing costs are much higher than in recent years.

But the halt in rate hikes has led mortgage costs to drop slightly, with the average two-year fixed residential mortgage sitting at 6.05 per cent on Thursday, as per data from Moneyfacts.

Some property experts pointed out that the small MoM decline in property transactions indicates that buyers are proving to be resilient despite struggling with much higher borrowing costs.

Nick Leeming, chairman of estate agency Jackson-Stops, said that it is easy to suggest that a slowdown of any extent is bad news for the market, but the minimal month-on-month decline amidst a backdrop of sticky inflation and high mortgage rates is a ringing endorsement for the strength of the property market and buyer and lender confidence.

He said: Our national network of agents tells us that transaction numbers and buyer appetite is heavily driven by location and local supply, in which competition for well-connected, prime properties is continuing to hold house prices firm.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by our writers are their own and do not represent the views of Getting Money Wise. The information provided on Getting Money Wise is intended for informational purposes only. Getting Money Wise is not liable for any financial losses incurred. Conduct your own research by contacting financial experts before making any investment decisions.

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