Property Watch – August 2023 UK residential property transactions

The graph below shows the UK housing market transactions for the year to 31 August 2023 with comparatives for the same period to August 2022, as reported by HMRC through Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) and Scottish/Welsh equivalent reporting.


PW graph

* June 2023 to August 2023 figures are provisional due to delays in collecting all relevant SDLT/LTT/LBTT reporting.

The graph above shows:

  • The August 2023 residential property transactions amounted to 95,000 transactions which were 15.9 % down from August 2022 and 11.4% up from July 2023.
  • Not shown in the above graph, but the August 2023 transactions were lower than the August 2019 (pre COVID) transactions by 16,600 transactions (14.9% lower).
  • The Bank of England base rate increased to 5.25% (from 5%) in August 2023 (1.25% increasing to 1.75 % in August 2022).

The transactions split by location in August 2023 was as follows:

No. %
England 80,310 84.5%
Scotland 8,300 8.7%
Wales 4,120 4.4%
Northern Ireland 2,270 2.4%
95,000 100.0%

Key points to note:

  • The September 2021 transaction spike was as a result of the end to the £250k SDLT holiday enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The July 2023 transactions in the above graph are 930 lower than those reported in our July 2023 issue of this circular (which can be viewed here: Property Watch July) this is as a result of more data being collected throughout the last month to support the transaction data reported.

UK residential property transaction prices to July 2023

The latest residential price data, as provided by HM Land Registry to July 2023 (so a month out of sync with the transaction data above) shows that prices were 0.6 % up at an average price of £289,824 compared to July 2022’s average of £288,156.

Residential property prices are 22.5% up from July 2020 (the peak of COVID) where the average was £236,687 per the Land Registry data.

Property prices continued to slightly increase (0.5% increased) compared to the previous month June 2023’s average price of £288,281.

The graphs below show the change in average residential property transaction values over the past four years and the monthly change in the year to July 2023.

PW graph 2

PW graph 3

Please note that the above data and trends may not be consistent with published data from other data collectors such as property sites (Rightmove etc.) or the banks and the data is liable to change as the Land registry receives additional market information.

Tax announcements

HMRC have recently issued ‘spotlight 63’ which includes HMRC’s view that certain arrangements to transfer property ownership from individuals to a company via Limited Liability Partnership ownership structures does not work.

There has been an increased focus on aggressive property ownership planning in recent months following a campaign against a firm peddling such schemes.

As always, there is often legitimate planning that can be done but there is a cautionary tale for those engaging the services of firms peddling aggressive avoidance (and sometimes even evasion) arrangements.

Ballards LLP’s property team has extensive experience acting for property related businesses and can assist investors, developers and associated trades with all financial property matters including; tax efficient structuring, SDLT planning, Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings planning and reporting, and any other financial matters associated with property ownership.  We act for all sizes of business.

If you would like to find out how we can help please contact Martin Adams, Tax Partner, at or on 01905 794 504.

To view past editions of this circular and other topical tax and business insights please visit our insights page.

Chi Duong, a Tax Associate at Ballards LLP, assisted in the preparation of this article.

Contains HM Revenue & Customs © Crown copyright data.

Contains HM Land Registry data © Crown copyright and database right 2020. This data is licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

Disclaimer. This article has been prepared for information purposes only. Formal professional advice is strongly recommended before making decisions on the topics discussed in this release. No responsibility for any loss to any person acting, or not acting, as a result of this release can be accepted by us, or any person affiliated to us.

For more information about our services and how we can help your business please get in touch.
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