Property Watch: Residential property trends 2005 to 2022

Tax partner, Martin Adams, looks back at the residential property transactions over the past 17 years and the events that have affected the UK residential property market.

The graph below shows the UK residential property transactions by month for the past 17 years as reported by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) based on Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) filings. The graph is annotated showing key events which have had an influence on the residential property market.

Monthly residential property transactions
* The May and June 2022 figures are provisional, and the July 2022 figures are provisional estimates due to delays with data collection from SDLT reporting.

The graph shows that the residential property market is materially affected by key economic fluctuations and it is also materially affected by tax policy.

The following matters are of particular interest:

  • Monthly housing transactions were on average significantly higher pre the 2007/8 financial crisis than any normal month post the crisis.
  • The effect of SDLT policy on housing transactions is most notable in:
      • December 2009 & January 2010 when the £175k SDLT holiday ended.
      • March & April 2016 when the 3% SDLT surcharge commenced for second homes and corporate transactions.
      • July 2020 to September 2021 during which the £500k and £250k SDLT free thresholds were available.
  • COVID had a material impact on the housing transactions giving an all-time low for the 17-year period in April 2020 of only 37,350 residential property transactions taking place, but the market quickly recovered with the help of SDLT reliefs.
  • The post-COVID housing market had begun to recover before the introduction of the SDLT support.
  • Current housing transactions are slightly above pre-COVID levels.

The three highest transaction months were all as a result of SDLT policy as follows:

Rank Number of houses transacted Month Event
1 214,530 June 2021 End of £500,000 SDLT free threshold.
2 174,080 March 2021 Expected end of £500,000 SDLT free threshold before the extension to June 2021.
3 171,370 March 2016 A month prior the 3% SDLT surcharge on second homes was introduced.

The three lowest transaction months were all a result of events in the wider economy as follows:

Rank Number of houses transacted Month Event
1 37,350 April 2020 COVID 19
2 41,060 January 2009 2007/8 financial crisis
3 42,750 February 2009 2007/8 financial crisis

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, Stamp Duty Land Tax planning, Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings planning and reporting, and any other financial matters associated with property ownership. We act for all sizes of businesses.

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

All data is © HM Revenue and Customs

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.

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