Tuesday, 3 July 2012 2:04 PM
The housing market remains subdued, according to new official surveys on mortgage lending and house prices.
The Bank of England said mortgage approvals for house purchase fell slightly in May to 51,098. This was also down on the average monthly total over the last six months of 52,812.
However, net mortgage lending rose by only £563m in May, which was the smallest increase since last September.
The Land Registry said May house prices rose 0.5 per cent on April at an average for England and Wales of £161,677. That was 0.4 per cent on a year ago.
London saw prices rise 2.6 per cent over the month followed by the West Midlands (2.0 per cent), Yorkshire & the Humber (0.8 per cent) and the South East (0.5 per cent). The biggest falls came in the North East (-1.9 per cent), Wales (-1.8 per cent) and the North West (-1.5 per cent).
Prices in the capital are now up 7.7 in the last year but everywhere else has seen either a fall or a sub-inflation increase.
The biggest annual falls came in Yorkshire & the Humber (-3.9 per cent), the North East (-3.5 per cent) and the North West (-2.8 per cent).
The Land Registry stats also showed a 25 per cent increase in the number of homes sold from 46,742 in March 2011 to 58,609 in March 2012. However, March saw the end of the stamp duty holiday for first-time buyers so it is possible this reflects sales that were brought forward.
Sales of properties over £1m fell 41 per cent from 845 to 501, possibly reflecting the imposition in March of a new seven per cent rate of stamp duty on homes above £2m.