The August Land Registry figures just out reveal that the number of residential properties sold in England and Wales increased between July and August by 3,353 sales or 5.2%.
This chimes with recent mortgage figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders, which revealed that £22.5 billion was lent in August, a rise of 7% on July’s figure and an increase of 15% on the year before.
The number of houses sold in August compared to July increased across the board including detached, semis and terraces although the number of apartments that were sold decreased, albeit by only 400 properties or 2.3%.
But the prime market is clearly showing signs of weakness, the figures reveal, as George Osborne’s Stamp Duty increases kick in for higher-value properties.
The number of homes sold for over £1m decreased from 581 in July to 552 in August while the decline in London was more marked. There sales of homes over £1m dropped from 339 to 297 during the same period.
The data release by the Land Registry also shows the breadth of the market. The most expensive sale during August was a terraced property in Westminster, central London, at £25.5 million while the cheapest homes were two terraced properties both sold for £10,000 – one in County Durham and the other in Rhonda Cynon Taff in Wales.
There was also bad news from the new homes market for the government. The number of new homes sales dropped by 14.3% despite recent news that use of the Help to Buy scheme had helped 130,000 people on to the property ladder since it was launched three years ago.