Property prices across the UK rose by 1.4 per cent through December to mark a strong end to the year and leave the property market having grown repeatedly throughout 2013, according to the latest figures released by Nationwide. Its data showed that the growth in December added to positivity in recent months, bringing annual rises up as high as 8.4 per cent.
And while many said that any annual growth amounting to more than five per cent would be harmful to the market - the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors asked the Bank of England to keep an eye on mortgage lending if this barrier was breached - fears of a bubble remain far off. Nationwide said that property prices still have a way to go before they hit peak levels. Final sale values at the moment remain five per cent lower than highs hit in 2007.
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One of the defining features of the property market was consistency, and this was something present right until the end of the year. While previous years have seen sporadic growth and falls, 2013 witnessed property prices headed upwards for 11 consecutive months. And Nationwide said that consistency across numerous regions was also a positive experienced throughout the year.
"The upturn also became increasingly broad based over the course of 2013. For the second successive quarter, all 13 UK regions saw positive annual house price growth in the fourth although London and the South East continued to record the strongest pace of growth," said Nationwide's chief economist Robert Gardner.
He pointed to the fact there had been wider economic growth throughout the year as one of the main drivers of increases in the property sector. Unemployment eased up throughout the year, and with the economy growing by 1.4 per cent, there were reasons for buyers to feel confident. He also added that governmental incentive had been a huge helping hand in boosting the market through schemes such as Help to Buy.
"Affordability is being supported by the ultra-low level of interest rates. A typical mortgage payment for a first time buyer is currently equal to around 29 per cent of take home pay, close to the long term average," Mr Gardner concluded.
- Monday 13 January 2014