There was an extraordinary 70 per cent leap in residential transaction volumes in March this year compared to the same month in 2015 - the first quantification of the extraordinary surge to beat George Osborne’s stamp duty surcharge.
HMRC’s provisional data shows 165,480 residential transactions in March, which was 41.5 per cent higher than in February.
The Revenue says the large increase in transactions for March was very likely to be down to the three per cent surcharge being introduced on April 1 for buy to let and second homes. It says the same applies to Scotland, where the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax surcharge - mirroring the stamp duty surcharge south of the border - was an issue.
HMRC mentions that buyers may also have been trying to beat new and much-anticipated restrictions on buy to let mortgages as a result of expected Bank of England reforms, expected to be rubber-stamped in the coming weeks.
The figures produced by HMRC are dramatic enough but are in fact they are adjusted to take account of seasonal fluctuations and other irregularities.
When these are not taken into account, the non-adjusted residential totals are even more dramatic with last month’s figure being 74.8 per cent higher compared with February, and 77.1 per cent higher than March 2015.
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