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Highest January house sales since 2008

Highest January house sales since 2008

Category: Mortgages

Updated: 21/02/2012
First Published: 21/02/2012

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

The new year dip in house sales was in evidence last month, although the number of houses sold was the highest for a January in four years.

Figures from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) show that 64,000 property sales were completed last month, down from 86,000 in December.

But compared with previous new year figures, sales performed well last month.

In the previous two Januarys, 52,000 and 50,000 properties were sold respectively, with a low of 41,000 coming in January 2009.

Last month's figure is the highest seen since January 2008, when HMRC reported 79,000 completed sales.

Previous years' figures illustrate just how much the mortgage market has contracted since the mortgage crisis, with 115,000 sales made in January 2007.

A fall in property sales is expected in the first month of a new year, with activity usually picking up as the spring approaches.

The stronger sales this January may have been helped by first time buyers attempting to beat the stamp duty holiday.

Currently, first time buyers are exempt from paying 1% stamp duty on homes worth up to £250,000, although the initiative is to end on March 4, despite protestations from groups such as the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) and the National Association of Estate Agents.

The CML announced on Monday that mortgage lending increased to £10.5 billion in January – a rise of 10% - boosted by first time buyers looking to finalise their deals.

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