As summer fades, UK property sales are cooling down, according to new HMRC figures.

The seasonally adjusted estimate of the number of non-residential property transactions decreased by 0.1 per cent in August 2014 compared to July, as the market enters a period of calm following heated activity.

While the latest HMRC figures show property transactions edged down, though, the estimated number of sales is still 2.3 per cent higher year-on-year, which highlights just has much the country's housing market has improved. 

Peter Rollings, CEO of Marsh & Parsons, says that trading conditions are "beginning to look reassuringly more familiar", as new housing supply enters the market in response to strong demand from buyers.

"The volume of house sales dipped in the month to August 2014," adds Rollings.

"But if we look at the figures through a longer-term lens, there has still been a healthy step forward compared to the same point last year. The market may have wound down for summer as it recovered from the adjustment of tighter lending regulation coming into force, but there’s still plenty of gas left in the tank. We expect sales to move up a gear in the autumn, as calmer competition for available homes boosts the confidence of home buyers and pedals the wheels of activity.”  

Some agents, though, have seen sales climb at the end of the summer, with Henry & James in Prime Central London recording a 1.9 per cent increase in transactions - despite the traditional seasonal slowdown at this time of year.

Indeed, the agency reports that bidding wars are returing in the prime sector, with one battle over a property that had been on the market for 10 weeks driving up the final price higher than the original asking figure.

While vendors are enjoying the improved selling conditions, bringing more properties to market, buyers may be suffering slightly. A recent survey from Aviva found that a growing number of customers are spending less time viewing properties they are interested in than they did a year ago.

Photo: Diana Parkhouse

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