Transactions increased by around 0.6% between October and November – but are up around 7.1% compared to the same period in 2016, according to HMRC.
The provisional data showed there were 104,200 residential and 11,150 non-residential sales last month.
Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, said: “The transaction numbers are the ones we are most interested in when it comes to the housing market because they show what is really happening and strip out all the confusion over prices going up and down in different parts of the country.
“They underline what we have been seeing at the coalface for some time – that the market is performing better than expected.
“There are no signs of any crashes but buyers and sellers need to be realistic if they are going to make sales happen and must accept that transactions are taking longer to complete.
“Looking forward, we don’t see much change in the first few months of the year but do sense that many are fed up with sitting on their hands and will at least attempt to see what the market holds for them in early 2018.”
More help needed for aspiring owners
The government could do more to help first-time buyers and support the market next year, according to some.
Richard Sexton, director at e.surv said: “In 2018 the industry and Government should look at alternative ways to promote movement within the market in order to free up housing stock.
“We should be looking to create a ‘circle of life’ by encouraging second steppers to move up the ladder and incentivise last time buyers to downsize from large family properties, so that these homes can be freed up for others.”