28 April 2010

House sales in the UK rose by 13,000 in March from February to 72,000, with the 22% increase indicating that property purchases are continuing their recovery after a post-Christmas dip.

The figures, released by HM Revenue & Customs, has also shown that sales are 24% higher than in March last year, when the housing market was in the midst of depression. The level of transactions are still under half of the number recorded in March 2007, before the market collapsed with the economic crisis and credit crunch.

The first quarter of 2010 saw completed sales reach 182,000, indicating the extent of the market recovery as this is 28% higher than the first three months of 2009.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders recently announced that activity is set to remain relatively subdued this year, with finances from lenders likely to be restricted for a number of years. This is despite estate agents and surveyors both reporting a large rise in the number of people making their properties available for sale.

A recent survey of Trends in Lending, released by the Bank of England, has indicated that the market may be about to see an increase in activity in a modest fashion. The Bank added: “Gross lending for house purchases increased in March according to data from the major UK lenders, and their mortgage approvals for house purchases rose after falls in the previous three months. The major UK lenders expected the impact of the new stamp duty land tax relief announced in the Budget to have some positive impact on mortgage activity from first-time buyers, though obtaining the deposit for house purchase – rather than the cost of stamp duty – was perceived by some lenders to be the greater constraint to house purchases.”

Source: BBC News

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