House Sales Highest In Seven Years

Property sales in the UK hit their joint highest monthly total since the financial crisis began last month, with 109,580 sales in June, the same as in November last year, and the highest since the end of 2007, according to information from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

The data also showed that the buying pattern is still quite traditional, with around 87 per cent of buyers purchasing a home as couples and only 7 per cent buying alone. However, sales among young adults (aged under 30) are low.

The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) published a report to coincide with HMRC’s, which said that only 3 per cent of those buying property in June were aged between 18 and 30, the lowest number the Association has ever recorded, compared with 48 per cent of buyers in the 31-to-40 age bracket.

This indicates that first-time buyers are having a tough time, as not only do they need to find huge deposits and more money for stamp duty but the new rules mean that buyers will also have to prove they can afford repayments now and in the future.

Last month the Bank of England changed the rules on mortgage lending in a bid to cool the housing market. As of 1 October, mortgage lenders will not be able to offer more than 15 per cent of their total new residential mortgages at loan-to-income ratios of 4.5 times or above.

However, according to the NAEA report, the HMRC figures showed there was still “life in the housing market”. Despite this, a spokesman for the Association questioned whether the market would continued to grow at such a rate after the traditionally busy time of year known as the Spring bounce.

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