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Home sales data hints at full-blown recovery

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The housing market revival witnessed in recent months may soon become a full-scale recovery, figures obtained by a property survey suggest.

The number of homes sold in the UK has soared to its highest level in three and a half years over the past quarter, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said on Tuesday.

Better news for the UK economy – as well as stimulus provided by the Bank of England’s Funding for Lending Scheme and the government’s Help to Buy policy – saw home sales rose to their highest level since January 2010, RICS said.

RICS said its members sold 17.9 homes on average in the three months ending in May, though this figure is still low compared with the 2007 peak.

Meanwhile, RICS’ seasonally-adjusted house price balance for May came in at +5, meaning more of its members reported price rises rather than price falls in the preceding three months. That represented the strongest reading since June 2010, which also recorded +5.

Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at RICS, said recent positive economic data was buoying activity in the housing market.

“What people are reading [about the economy] is important. Positive news can have a bearing on the number of people looking for properties,” Rubinsohn said.

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