UK home sales slumped by 62% last month as activity in the market cooled following a scramble to meet a stamp duty holiday deadline, official figures show.
The number of residential property sales fell to 82,110 in July after hitting 213,120 in June – the highest level on records going back to 2005 – according to HM Revenue and Customs.
HMRC said that after the 30 June cut-off for the stamp duty holiday “an expected but noticeable decrease has been observed”.
Yet purchases were still 1.8% higher than in July last year when the market remained in the doldrums following the first lockdown.
The stamp duty holiday announced last summer helped to revive activity.
It meant buyers would not have to pay any stamp duty on properties worth up to £500,000.
The tax break is now winding down with the threshold cut to £250,000 at the end of June and it will return to its usual level of £125,000 at the end of September.
Official figures published last week showed the scramble to complete deals before the end of June had pushed house prices to a new record high.
More recent data for July from Nationwide showed prices starting to cool.