The number of homes sold in the UK last month was at the highest level since before the 2007 global financial crisis, according to the property industry’s top body.

An average of 13 sales were agreed per estate agent branch in July, the highest figure recorded since June 2007, according to the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) Propertymark housing report.

This was 44 per cent higher than the number of sales agreed in July last year, when the property market was in the throes of a particularly sluggish summer lull.

This year’s high summer sales boom comes in the wake of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement on July 8 of an eight-month stamp duty holiday, which has encouraged prospective buyers to commit.

Vendors are also keen to sell ahead of any future house price falls, after Britain’s descent into recession following coronavirus lockdown. The number of house hunters registered with an estate agent also rose to 428 per branch, up by 35 per cent compared to the same time last year.

Mark Hayward, chief executive, NAEA Propertymark said: “Usually we would expect to see a lull in activity during the summer months. However, demand remains unabated with no signs that this will not continue.

“With the recent stamp duty holiday announcement, we expect the housing market to remain busy throughout the rest of the summer.”

Almost two thirds of the properties sold in July went for below asking price, while just eight per cent commanded more than the asking price. Meanwhile, the number of sales to first-time buyers fell, with the group making up 25 per cent of the market last month.

The findings are backed up by Rightmove. The property portal reported a record-smashing summer mini boom of £37 billion property sales between July and August this year, with the highest number of homes being put on the market since March 2008 and house price rises in every region but London and the South-East.

The most recent report from mortgage lender Halifax showed UK house prices at a record high of £242,000 after four months of falls.

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