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UK housing market shows sales lift, says Rics

The BBC reported a two and a half year high in UK house sales, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics), last week.

Rics said that nearly 17 homes were sold per surveyor in the three months to February, with a rise in sales set to continue despite the level of enquiries from potential buyers picking up since January's cold snap.

With prices having remained unchanged, the number of mortgages on the market has increased by about a third since the launch of the Funding for Lending scheme, aimed at encouraging lending by offering cheap funds for mortgage and loan providers.

"It is encouraging to see that the housing market now appears to be picking up across most parts of the UK despite ongoing concerns about the health of the economy," said Peter Bolton King, global residential director at Rics.

"This may, in part, be down to the growing availability of mortgage finance through schemes such as Funding for Lending. However, even with activity running at its best level since the middle of 2010, it is still well down on its pre-crisis norm."

With many borrowers finding it tough to raise the deposit required by lenders to secure a home loan, we are not out of the woods yet. Although a number of government schemes have assisted the market for new homes the housing market has had little sustained momentum in recent years, with this appearing likely to continue for the short to medium term. The number of homes being sold at present in the UK is about half the total seen in 2007 before the financial crisis hit, according to figures from HM Revenue and Customs.

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