Page last updated at 10:56 GMT, Wednesday, 24 June 2009 11:56 UK

House sales 'continuing to rise'

The figures are the latest suggestion of green shoots in the market

The number of homes sold in the UK has continued to rise, according to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Some 62,000 residential properties costing more than £40,000 were sold in May, up 7% on the previous month.

The figure was the highest since October but still well down on the level of transactions seen during the boom in the housing market.

The data is the latest to show a steady rise in interest from buyers, following similar rises in mortgage approvals.

Spring bounce?

On Tuesday, the British Bankers' Association (BBA) said that there had been a steady rise in mortgage approvals over the last six months.

The number of approvals for house purchases by BBA members rose to 31,162 in May, up 15.8% compared with the same month a year ago.

Despite the rising number of approvals - a signal of future activity in the housing market - the BBA said that the mortgage picture remained subdued overall.

The HMRC figures also reflect the typical "spring bounce" in the housing market, with buyers showing more interest at this time of year.

Stripping out seasonal factors, there were 60,000 sales completed during May, down from 64,000 in April. March saw a 40% leap in property sales from the month before, according to the HMRC.

The rising demand has, in part, led to home loan providers raising the cost of fixed-rate mortgages in recent days.

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