Spring bounce for property sales, HMRC figures show

The number of homes sold in the UK rose sharply in March as the typical spring bounce took hold, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) said.

There were 74,000 completed sales during the month, up from 63,000 the previous month, the figures show.

The pick-up could also be a sign that some buyers brought forward purchases to benefit from the stamp duty concession, which has now expired.

Mortgage lending also spiked in March, figures showed on Monday.

Gross mortgage lending stood at £13.4bn in March, up 30% on February, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said.

Subdued activity

Sales figures have increased sharply in March compared with February in each of the past three years.

The warm weather at the start of the year may have encouraged some potential buyers to go house-hunting.

Meanwhile, the stamp duty exemption for first-time buyers who bought homes valued at between £125,000 and £250,000 came to an end after two years on 24 March.

However, sales activity remained subdued compared with the housing boom. The number of transactions in March was just over half the level seen in March 2007, the HMRC figures show.