House sales up in May
Latest figures from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) show a rise in the number of homes sold in the UK during May.
Transactions involving properties worth over £40,000 increased by 7% last month to 62,000 and were at their highest since October 2008.
However, they remained significantly below levels seen at the height of the housing market boom in 2007.
The news follows a 40% leap in sales during March when HMRC recorded 60,000 completed transactions, up from 43,000 in February and 41,000 in January.
Also this week, the British Bankers’ Association (BBA) said that mortgage approvals for house purchases hit a 13-month high in May.
The volume of loans approved for house purchases rose to 31,162, up nearly 16% on a year earlier.
Like most reports of “green shoots” in the housing market, the wider picture tells a different story and the Association’s director of statistics, David Dooks, points out that gross and net lending statistics both point towards a “subdued wider mortgage picture.”
According to the BBA, gross mortgage lending fell to £7.7 billion last month, a figure last seen in February 2001 and down 50.7% on May 2008.