Figures from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) show that sales went up in every region of the UK.
In the last few months of 2014 the number of homes being sold eased off as the market cooled, and price increases also slowed.
Mortgage lenders recently forecast that sales this coming year may drop back slightly, to about 1.18 million.
The UK property market slumped in the wake of the 2008 banking crisis as lenders turned off the "mortgage tap". Sales fell to a low of 858,000 in 2009.
But since then they have risen each year, boosted by government initiatives like Funding for Lending, and helped by a gentle revival in the economy along with rising employment.
"Since December 2008, there has been a slow but steady upward trend in the seasonally adjusted count," commented HMRC.
"This trend grew at a faster rate between April 2013 and February 2014; however since then the rate has declined slightly."
The possibility of the recent slowdown in sales extending into this year has been indicated by the trend in mortgage approvals, the number of mortgages approved by lenders but not yet lent.
The figures, published each month by the Bank of England, show that approvals have been falling slowly since last June.
As further evidence, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said earlier this month that the number of new properties being listed for sale by its members had fallen for 10 of the last 12 months.
It added that the number of potential buyers entering the market had now fallen for six months in a row.