The number of homes bought and sold in the UK jumped in July

Emma Haslett
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House sales showed a surprise rise in July (Source: Getty)

The number of homes jumped more than eight per cent in July, to its highest since last March, official data has shown.

Some 104,760 homes were bought and sold in July, up from 103,450 in June, figures from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) showed today.

The last time the figure peaked was in March last year, just before the government hiked stamp duty on second homes by three per cent, when 171,570 homes were bought and sold.

Since then, property sales have taken a hit, which was compounded by market uncertainty following the Brexit vote. Sales in the year to date fell three per cent, today's figures showed.

"Caution should be used making comparisons of transactions between July 2017 and July 2016 as some taxpayers may have changed their behaviour as they considered the result of the June 2017 General Election, and the EU referendum in June 2016," said HMRC today.

Read more: Mapped: House price changes in every London borough since the Brexit vote

Figures published by Lloyds Bank yesterday suggested the housing market took a hit in the first six months of this year, with the number of people moving house falling two per cent to 171,300 in the first six months of the year.

However, there have been some indications the market is beginning to pick up: last week figures from the Land Registry showed UK house prices rose 4.9 per cent to £223,257 in the year to June.

"Our sense is that the underlying market may be slightly better than we might have anticipated (i.e. flat)," said analysts at Jefferies.

"We expect transactions to remain at this level for the foreseeable future, with a shift from existing homes to new build, as Help to buy supports the marginal buyer."

Read more: UK house price growth ticks up - but London prices are falling

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