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House sales rise by 40% in March

Sales of houses in the UK rose by 40% in March from previous figures in February, according to figures from HM Revenue & Customs

In March there were 60000 sales, compared with just 43000 in February. It is suggested that the figures indicate that the slump in house sales in the last year and a half may becoming to an end.

There is normally a jump in house sales at this time of the year, but even after adjusting the figures for seasonal trend they still show a rise of 54000 to 61000 sales - a jump of 13%

The Bank of England’s latest data also shows that mortgage approvals have been rising steadily since February, after a 6 month period of stagnation.

Surveyors are also reporting a steady rise in the number of enquiries from potential home buyers over the last couple of months.

It remains to be seen if this is just a blip in the banking crisis, or if these figures can be sustained.

Property sales are still at around half the level they were 2 years ago, and house prices are about 20% lower than they were at their peak in the summer of 2007.

Last week the council of mortgage lenders reported that 2 million homeowners are now in negative equity and cannot sell or move as they cannot raise a mortgage on a new property.

Banks are reporting that the fear of unemployment in the credit crunch is still deterring potential buyers.

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Value of Property  
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(eg 135000) 
Value of Mortgage
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(eg 85000) 
Type of Mortgage