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Insight & Opinion

UK property sales up 24%, says HMRC

Author: Gemma

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HM Revenues and Customs (HMRC) has revealed that the number of UK property sales in 2013 increased by 24 per cent when compared with the previous 12 months.

Seasonally adjusted figures indicate that 96,979 flats or houses were sold in the month of November, the highest figure in a single month since December 2009.

Mortgage approval rates also saw an increase in 2013, with figures published by the British Bankers Association (BBA) revealing a 39 per cent rise over the 12-month period.

In November alone 45,000 mortgages were offered to those looking to buy properties, which is the highest recorded since September 2009, when the property market was in a strong position.

But, will this be a blip? The BBA does not think so, as it predicts the trend to continue into the new year, as people have increased confidence in the economy and the housing market.

David Dooks, the BBA’s statistics director, said: “With approvals up a third on a year earlier, lending will continue to be strong in the months ahead.”

Even though the figures from the BBA and HMRC are positive for the property market, the statistics are still well below the peaks witnessed in 2009, when around 150,000 homes were being sold every month.

Much of the improvement in terms of properties being sold and mortgage approval rates has been put down to the Help to Buy scheme, as the figures are the first to cover a complete month of phase two of the initiative, which makes it easier for people to purchase property as the government guarantees 15 per cent of a borrower’s loan.

Despite the positive trend, some believe there is an increased risk of a housing bubble, especially as recent figures from the Halifax have shown prices increasing by 7.7 per cent over the last 12 months – the fastest rate of inflation for six years.

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