Government figures show number of homes sold in August has halved since last year

House sales have fallen to their lowest level in 50 years, according to UK government figures.

The number of homes sold plunged to just 62,000 in August - the lowest level since records began in 1959, and less than half the amount sold a year ago, HM Revenue and Customs said.

The British Bankers Association confirmed the extent of the slump, revealing that the number of people taking out mortgages to buy homes plummeted by more than 60% to its lowest level since records began.

Just 700 mortgages are being taken out every day, in contrast with almost 3,000 home loans a day when the housing market was at its zenith.

The statistics are the bleakest evidence yet of how the UK housing market has ground to a slump.