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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Property sales go from strength to strength

Residential housing market activity defied the summer slowdown to post strong growth in August.

The latest HMRC Property Transactions figures for August 2015 show a 3.1% rise in the number of residential sales compared to July.

The seasonally-adjusted figure is 5.7% higher than August 2014.

Peter Rollings, chief executive of estate agents Marsh & Parsons, said: “Taking into account seasonal adjustment, property sales are going from strength to strength, and showing great improvement from this time last year.

“With the spectre of higher interest rates being kept at bay, buyer demand is in full swing and summer sales have continued to blossom in August.

“After slightly fewer home sales than we would expect in a typical July, buyers last month were showing a new enthusiasm and readiness to enter the market.”

Rollings added: “The changes to stamp duty are still washing over London and cooling activity at the topmost tiers of the housing market.

“But overall demand for property in the capital hasn’t waned, as young professionals and first-time buyers continue to seek out up-and-coming areas to put down roots.

“The subsequent squeeze on available property for sale in the capital should keep pushing house price growth along well into the autumn.”

Jeremy Duncombe, director, Legal & General Mortgage Club, said recent CML figures show that gross mortgage lending is rising much faster than property transactions.

“Market activity is relatively flat in volume, but increasing in value, highlighting the sheer impact of high house price inflation.

"The lack of supply is limiting the number of property transactions as there aren’t enough homes for people to buy.

“Meanwhile, high asking prices are forcing prospective buyers to borrow more money to afford their desired home.

“Ultimately, the source of both of these issues is the lack of supply which is falling well short of demand.”

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