Property transactions hit 96,250 last month, with big spenders buying more than before the pandemic.
Transactions were up 15 per cent in February, compared to 83,450 in January, according to HMRC’s latest data on home transactions.
Total sales for the first two months of the year stand at 179,900, some 18 per cent lower than last year. However, this is still the next highest level since 2007.
Lawrence Bowles, director of residential research at Savills said the latest monthly figures were reflective of “the growing momentum we’ve seen in the market after the winter break.”
He added: “While we are still seeing strong momentum in the market, data on agreed sales shows we are also starting to see stratification in sales activity between different price points.
According to data from TwentyCi, sales for properties worth £300,000-£500,000 were 47 per cent higher than pre-pandemic levels.
For properties between £500,000 and £1m, there were 73 per cent more sales than before Covid.
“Part of this shift is because there simply aren’t as many homes under £300,000 as before, as we’ve seen values rise over the source of the pandemi,” Bowles added.
He said: “However, it also reflects a shift in affordability. The Bank of England has already increased the base rate three times in the last six months. With inflation still running hot, mortgage lenders have been pricing in further rate hikes. That limits affordability at the point of purchase, especially for first-time buyers who have less equity backing them.”
“Buyers can’t risk hanging around in order to secure their new home for fear of missing out,” Tomer Aboody, director of property lender MT Finance, said.
“Many buyers are prepared to stretch themselves and pay record prices due to lack of supply, particularly while they can still take advantage of low mortgage rates.
“With global concerns such as Covid and the situation in Ukraine having a direct impact on western economies, Rishi Sunak must use his Spring Statement to look at ways to help curb soaring inflation and manage the rising cost of living.”