Government data shows 13% monthly rise even after adjustment for seasonal trends

House sales leaped 40% in March, according to figures from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

There were 60,000 property sales worth at least £40,000 each, compared with 43,000 sales in February.

Even after the figures are adjusted to take account of seasonal trends – the housing market often comes to life after the winter – they are still up 13%.

The Bank of England said that mortgage approvals also rose significantly in February, after remaining flat for six months.

Sale boards
Sales of property sales over £40,000 rose from 43,000 to 60,000 last month

But the Council for Mortgage Lenders (CML) said the seasonal upward trend in sales might be short-lived this year, held back by a lack of available finance and falling house prices.

It said: "The report confirms the CML's view that there has been a modest pick-up in housing market activity recently, but that it remains at an extremely low level.

"Despite this small improvement, the CML does not foresee a lasting, significant increase in lending volumes until funding conditions improve."