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.
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."