Last month was the strongest July for home sales since 2007 with a rise of 13% on June to 90,000.
This is the first time this year that sales in any month have surpassed their 2014 total as the market recovers following the general election slowdown, according to the LSL England & Wales house price index.
But house price growth in England and Wales is still slowing, rising 3.7% across the UK, or 4% after stripping out the sluggish London property market.
The latest RICS UK Residential Market Survey for July, also published today, shows demand rising at the fastest pace since February, with prices gaining momentum for a sixth consecutive month.
The shortage of property supply is driving prices higher and holding back both transactions and you instructions, RICS said.
The LSL index showed the North and East Anglia growing fastest, while Crossrail investment pushed Reading property prices up more than 15% in the past year, the fastest rise across the country.
Adrian Gill, director of Reeds Rains and Your Move estate agents, said: “House prices are still putting one foot in front of the other. These more pedestrian monthly price rises of late have nonetheless carried the average house price to a new record £279,515.”
Gill said six regions of England and Wales have seen accelerating house price growth, led by East Anglia at 6.3%.
The strongest sales growth was outside London and the South East, with second-quarter sales in the North and Yorkshire & Humberside jumping 29% and 25% respectively on the previous quarter.
Gill said that first-time buyer sales have slowed sharply. “The current review of the buy-to-let market and measures to reduce the tax relief for landlords may help grease the wheels for first-time buyers in future, easing some of the competition with property investors.
“But cheap mortgage finance has been the most significant catalyst behind much of the housing recovery, and this won’t last forever.
“Savvy buyers should be looking to make the most of low rates while they last, and fix for as long as possible.”