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Housing market shows no sign of slowing

The housing market momentum shows no sign of abating, with sales rising sharply in February compared with a year ago.Data from HM Revenue and Customs shows sales totalled 84,950 during the month - up from 64,270 in the same month last year, representing a 31.7 per cent increase.This was the lowest level since April, however, due to the seasonal slowdown.Rents also continued to rise, increasing by 1.6 per cent in February compared with a year ago. They were up by 0.1 per cent on January's figure, according to a report by LSL Property Services.This takes the average monthly rent across England and Wales to £793 a month in February. The highest rise was experience in Yorkshire and the Humber, where they increased by 1.2 per cent.The biggest monthly fall in rents was in the south-east of England, where they dropped by 1.5 per cent to an average of £755.Peter Rollings, chief executive of Marsh and Parsons estate agents, told the BBC: "The momentum of economic growth continues to lift the UK property market and shows little sign of abating."The government seems intent on oiling the cogs of the housing market, facilitating property transactions at all rungs of the ladder."However, housing charity Shelter said the figures constitute further evidence of the "chronic shortage of housing".Campbell Robb, Shelter's chief executive, said: "These figures mean yet another squeeze on the budgets of England's nine million renters."A number of policies were announced in the Budget aimed at boosting the housing supply. The government says the extension of the Help to Buy equity loan scheme will help up to 120,000 households onto the property ladder.In addition, £200 million is to be invested in new housing at a brownfield site in Ebbsfleet, Kent. Around 15,000 new homes are to be provided under the supervision of an urban development corporation. 

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