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Thursday 23rd of October 2008
October 21, 2008

House sales fall 53%


by Gill Montia
House sales fall 53%

The extent of the slowdown in the UK housing market is amply illustrated by latest figures from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), which receives notification of all residential property transactions with a value of over £40,000.

According to HMRC, a mere 59,000 residential properties changed hands in September.

The figure is at its lowest since data collection began in 2005, and represents a 53% decline on September 2007 transactions, which stood at 126,000.

Over the last quarter, 188,000 homes were sold, compared to 407,000 during the three months to the end of September last year.

In the first three quarters of 2008, residential property transactions numbered 747,000, down from 1.3 million over the same period of 2007.

A shortage of mortgage funds combined with a lack of confidence in house prices and growing fears over job security continue to undermine the UK property market.

Latest figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) show that mortgage approvals for new house purchases fell to 42,200 in August, with first-time buyers making up only 15,600 of that number.

Total lending for house purchases declined to £6 billion during the month, down 63% on the same period in 2007.

Towards the end of September, the CML announced that it would no longer try to predict the short-term course of house prices, describing the exercise as “futile”.

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