The number of homes bought in the UK fell to its lowest since 2013 last year, new figures have shown.
Some 1.15m homes were bought between April last year and March this year, compared with 1.32m the year before, and 2m in 2014-15.
The figures also showed the number of homes bought fell 40 per cent between March this year and March last year, from 173,860 to 102,810. That was thanks to new stamp duty rules introduced at the beginning of last April, which hiked stamp duty on second homes and led to a buying frenzy just before the rules were introduced.
However, the figures provided some hope the market was beginning to pick up: the number of transactions picked up 0.5 per cent between February and March.
The figures came on the same day mortgage rates hit an all-time low after Yorkshire Building Society unveiled a 0.89 per cent mortgage.
Ishaan Malhi, chief executive of online mortgage broker Trussle, said the figures were encouraging.
“The market has picked up again, despite weakened demand from buy-to-let investors facing new tax and stamp duty rules. This is likely due to the increase in first-time buyer activity that we’ve seen in recent months.
"With a general election now on the horizon however, I expect activity may dip again as buyers and homeowners adopt the ‘wait and see’ attitude that we've seen in previous elections. This usually then leads to a bounce back in activity once the result is known."