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House sales up, says taxman

HOUSE sales in the UK lifted over the summer despite the downturn, according to figures released yesterday by HM Revenue &amp; Customs (HMRC).<br /><br />Sales of residential properties costing more than &pound;40,000 rose from 80,000 in August to 82,000 in September. <br /><br />And sales in the three months to the end of September were 11 per cent higher than in the previous quarter. <br /><br />But the total number of transactions for the year to date is still 21 per cent down on the same period last year.<br /><br />The news comes just a day after the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said there had been a rise in summer lending. But gross mortgage lending for September fell 27 per cent compared to the same period a year ago.<br /><br />Activity is creeping back into the market as buyers take advantage of falling house prices. <br /><br />But the rise in house sales has led to a surge in complaints to the Property Ombudsman, which have jumped by 17 per cent.