UK property sales down by 11%, HMRC says

For Sale signs
Image caption Sales as well as prices are facing a new downturn

UK property sales were down 11% in October from a year ago, according to HM Revenue & Customs, giving fresh evidence of the sector's downturn.

Just 79,000 residential properties were sold in October, HMRC said.

That was up 1,000 from September, but was 10,000 lower than in October last year.

The year-on-year fall suggests sales as well as prices are now coming under pressure as a result of mortgage rationing and economic uncertainty.

On Tuesday, the Nationwide building society, one of the UK's biggest lenders, suggested that house prices might continue falling in the coming year, after starting to slip in the past few months.

The lender said a key factor causing the subdued state of the market was a lack of consumer confidence, together with economic uncertainty because of the government's public spending cutbacks.

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