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Official figures show February rise in house sales

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by Gill Montia

UK house sales rose in February, according to HM Revenue & Customs.

The month saw 58,000 transactions completed on properties worth over £40,000, up 14% from January.

The total fell well below December’s tally of 103,000, when sales activity clustered as the end of the stamp duty holiday loomed, but showed a significant improvement on February 2009 (43,000).

This week’s Budget ushered in a new stamp duty reprieve, but for first-time buyers only.

Those new to property ownership are being spared the tax on properties worth up to £250,000 for the next two years and the concession may perk up the housing market more than expected, despite eligibility being restricted to first-time buyers.

The earlier holiday, which ended in January, benefited all homebuyers paying up to £175,000 but had little impact in London and the South East, where average house prices were well above the temporary threshold.

According to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the impact of the holiday was also limited in the North of England but in this case because the average price of a home was already below £125,000 before the threshold was adjusted up to £175,000.

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News posted: March 26, 2010

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