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The number of properties being bought and sold in the UK suffered an annual 2.6 per cent drop last month, signalling the latest evidence that activity in the country’s housing market remains flat.

While total property transactions climbed 1.3 per cent between July and August to 99,120, today’s figures also show a 2.6 per cent dip compared with the same month last year, according to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Kevin Roberts, director of Legal & General Mortgage Club, said: “Property transactions have remained stagnant for some time now. Financial barriers, like Stamp Duty, are discouraging homeowners from moving up the ladder and instead choosing to ‘improve, not move’”.

At its pre-financial crisis peak the housing market was hitting roughly 150,000 transactions per month, which was followed by a sharp fall in residential transactions at the end of 2007, coinciding with the housing market slump and credit-crunch.

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS chairman, said: “These numbers show that the patient is in reasonable health and has taken the interest rate medicine in its stride, showing activity holding up reasonably well and even progressing marginally compared with previous months.

“The market enters the important autumn period with reasonable confidence, not expecting any great changes either way. On the high street we have noticed more interest in buying and selling, although we are finding it hard for deals to gain traction unless there is realism on all sides.”

The news comes in the same week as Office for National Statistics data found that house prices in London plunged to their lowest rate of growth in nearly a decade in July, falling 0.7 per cent as the capital’s property market shows little sign of easing up.

Source: City A.M.

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