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ONS: Average UK house prices reach record high

Average UK house prices rose by 7.6% in the year to November to reach a record high of £250,000, according to the ONS House Price Index.

The data shows that this increase is the highest annual growth rate the UK has seen since June 2016.

In addition, this is up from the year to October, which noted a 5.9% rise.

Average house prices increased over the year in England to £267,000 (7.6%), Wales to £180,000 (7.0%), Scotland to £166,000 (8.6%) and Northern Ireland to £143,000 (2.4%).

The average house price in London surpassed £500,000 for the first time in November 2020.

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Furthermore, the North East is the final English region to surpass its pre-economic downturn average house price peak of July 2007, to now stand at £140,000.

Kevin Roberts, director of Legal & General Mortgage Club, said: “The latest ONS house price index figures will be welcomed by existing homeowners.

“The resilience of the housing market continues to shine through as people remain encouraged to move house with or without the benefit from the stamp duty relief, no doubt also encouraged by the rollout of the a COVID-19 vaccine.

“There remain challenges, however, and the government’s decision to extend the furlough scheme until the end of March, will be welcomed by many homeowners exploring their options.

“At Legal & General Mortgage Club, we saw searches for furlough friendly mortgages increase by 230% in November 2020, when compared to the previous month.”

“Buyers wanting to access the best and most suitable mortgage products should absolutely consider speaking with an independent mortgage adviser, particularly as we draw closer to the government’s stamp duty holiday deadline, which is creating very high demand.”

Read about the UK Housing Market via our Specialist Residential & Buy to Let Division

Paul Stockwell, chief commercial officer of Gatehouse Bank, added: “House prices defied expectations by increasing throughout 2020 and leading to a record high in November, with the stamp duty discount driving strong demand from buyers — but there are signs from other indices that price growth has now begun to slow.

“The UK housing market is still open for business during this lockdown, but demand is likely to have started to taper off as buyers begin to concede they will not be able to complete a transaction in time to make the stamp duty deadline.

“The March 31 cut-off is looming, and although professionals across the industry are working in earnest to get applications over the line in time, fears are mounting about how many agreements could fall through.

“With property portal Rightmove predicting as many as 100,000 buyers could face an unwelcome tax bill when their sale fails to complete on time, all eyes are turning to Chancellor Rishi Sunak and whether he may extend or add a taper mechanism to the scheme or risk deals falling apart.”

Guy Gittins, managing director of Chestertons, said: “The second lockdown no doubt encouraged some people to put their property search on hold, but we didn’t notice a big difference and activity levels were still a lot higher than we anticipated for this time of year.

“Part of this was driven by the incentive of the stamp duty saving, but we believe the main driver was that people just wanted to move as quickly as possible while conditions were favourable.”

By Jake Carter

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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ONS: Average UK house prices up 2.2%

The average UK house price rose by 2.2% to £235,000 in the year to December 2019, according to data collected by ONS.

Average house prices in England increased by 2.2% to £252,000.

Wales and Scotland both also recorded a 2.2% rise year-on-year, with average house prices increasing to £166,000 and £152,000 respectively.

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland noted a 2.5% uplift, boosting average house prices to £140,000.

All regions saw a rise in average property prices in the year to December 2019; the South East of England recorded the lowest average increase, up 1.2%.

Average property prices in Yorkshire and Humber noted the greatest rise over the selected timeframe, growing by 3.9%.

Franz Doerr, founder and chief executive of flatfair, said: “The continued growth of rental prices is preventing renters from accessing the homes that they want.

“As the ‘Boris bounce’ has driven up house prices, we are seeing a continuing trend of tenants opting to rent for longer than ever before.

“However, rising rents, and the need to scrape together a large lump-sum deposit when moving are huge barriers that need addressing.

“With a growing number of landlords leaving the sector leading to a reduction in the available housing stock, action needs to be taken to make the rental market work better for tenants and landlords alike.”

Hedi Zidan, founder and chief executive of Nestify, added: “Today’s figures demonstrate that the UK rental market is resilient, and that demand remains strong.

“Our landlords are increasingly meeting tenants who are seeking a range of different accommodation solutions, durations and tenancy options.

“This means that in order to maximise the current UK housing stock, it’s vital landlords have access to a range of short, medium and long-term rental options.

“These figures demonstrate how integral professional landlords are to UK housing and it is our belief that they should be supported to provide the range of tenancies that the UK rental population so clearly crave.

Marc von Grundherr, director of lettings and sales agent Benham and Reeves, stated: “Much has been made of the ‘Boris Bounce’ and there is no doubting that it spurred a huge uplift in market activity.

“While today’s figures display a slightly more muted market landscape in terms of actual sales, it is important to remember that even the most enthusiastic of buyers and sellers would struggle to get a transaction completed in the few short weeks between the election result and the end of the year.

“All in all a resilient show from the UK property market, particularly given the backdrop of political turbulence that has been prevalent for much of the last 12 months, and a foundation that should now see a strong performance for the year ahead following on from December’s election results.”

Gráinne Gilmore, head of research at Zoopla, added: “The certainty provided by the definitive result of the General Election was a shot in the arm for the UK housing market.

“The annual level of growth for the UK according to the ONS is the highest recorded in 2019, with all regions seeing positive growth for the first time in nearly two years.

“The pick up in annual price growth reflects the trends seen in Zoopla’s UK Cities House Price Index, which recorded the highest level of house price inflation in two years for December 2019.

“Zoopla data shows an increase in buyer demand since late last year, a trend that is set to continue amid real wage growth and low interest rates.

“However, in some areas there is still a shortage of homes coming to market to meet this demand.

“The upcoming Budget is a prime opportunity for the new Chancellor to address some of the factors affecting the housing market at present.

“Any review of stamp duty charges to help the movement of homeowners up and down the property ladder would be welcome, but the extent and nature of any reform, which must be balanced against political exigencies, remains to be seen.”

By Jake Carter

Source: Mortgage Introducer