House sales 'down by a half'

Posted: 27 Oct 2008 14:20:11 GMT

            Property News - House sales 'down by a half'

The number of property sales in the UK has fallen by 53 per cent over the last five years.

That is the stark conclusion of new figures from HM Revenue and Customs, which also revealed that just 59,000 residential properties worth more than £40,000 were sold during September.

This represents the lowest level since the government department began issuing figures in the current format in 2005.

What's more, the number was down drastically from the same month last year, when some 126,000 homes were sold.

Despite tumbling house prices and multi-billion pound government initiatives to revitalise the economy in the wake of the credit crunch, there is no sign yet that the property sector is coming out of its funk.

Howard Archer, economist at Global Insight, said that the HMRC figures provided more proof that the housing market is in a "dismal state".

"Faster rising unemployment, heightened concerns over the economic outlook and widespread expectations that house prices will continue to fall markedly seem well set to depress housing market activity and prices for some considerable time to come," he added.

Earlier this week, the Homeowners Advice Centre warned lenders to expect an increase in mortgage arrears as households struggle to pay back their loans.

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