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House sales reach highest level for 12 months

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The number of house sales in the UK rose 4.7% in May on the previous month to the highest level seen since May last year, according to Agency Express.

Its figures showed that house sales recovered in May after a poor April, but still remained 2% lower than May 2010.

Nevertheless, house sales remain significantly above the worst of the financial crisis years, up 14.7% on May 2009 and 18.6% up on May 2008.

Agency Express found that the recovery was led by activity in the North of England and the Midlands, with the number of houses sold in the North East rising 16.7%, while the North West saw an increase of 16.6%.

In Yorkshire, monthly sales were up 10.6% and in Central England they rose 10%.

By comparison, sales fell 16.4% in Scotland, while the South East recorded a fall of 7.4% and the South West dropped 5.5%.

Meanwhile, the number of new ‘for sale’ instructions increased 1.7% in May, after a drop of 0.5% in April, taking it to the highest level since August last year.

While instructions were 6% down on May 2010, the number of properties being put on the market was 40.5% greater than May 2009.

Most regions recorded an increase in the number of new instructions, with the North East again leading the way with a rise of 10.6%, while supply in Wales shrank by 5.4%.

Stephen Watson, managing director at Agency Express, said: “It’s good to see that the drop in activity seen in April, which we can attribute to the plethora of holidays, has now been more than compensated for with decent increases in both the number of houses sold and the amount of new ‘for sale’ instructions.

“The dry, sunny weather most of the UK has experienced in the last few weeks has certainly helped the viewing numbers. That combined with the expected stability in interest rates and a mildly optimistic view that the UK economy is on a slow recovery is restoring confidence in homeowners to move house.

“Last year, May was the peak of the house sales market so we are looking forward to June to see if the upward trend we have seen since the turn of the year proves to be a sustainable one.”

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