The mean price of homes across the UK has now topped GBP 250,000 for the first time in history, according to the latest official figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The new benchmark figure was reached, according to the body, at the end of the last year, as the UK property market managed to avoid the traditional quieter period that normally sees prices start to cool off through November and December.
In December, the ONS index shows that house prices were 5.5 per cent higher than they had been a year before. This was an improvement on the 5.4 per cent annual improvement that had been recorded in November, a period which would normally see a drop as opposed to the rising rate of increase recorded at the end of 2013.
Overall, the ONS added that prices have now recovered to such an extent that they average a level higher than those seen before the financial crisis in 2008 that saw prices falling. They now sit at 1.6 per cent more than they were at the end of January 2008, a month after which prices started to drop when the recession took hold in the UK. However, rises in the last year were differing in varying regions of the UK. While in England they grew by as much as 5.7 per cent, Wales and Northern Ireland each witnessed growth of 4.8 per cent. In Scotland, though, they only climbed by 0.5 per cent annually.
David Newnes, director of LSL Property Services, said of the latest ONS stats: "There's certainly an infectious confidence bubbling around the marketplace, with many more aspiring buyers coming into the market. With solid growth in employment, record low mortgage rates and easing credit conditions, the property market is going from strength to strength. First time buyers have been spurred to action by cheaper rates, a boost in the available higher loan to value mortgages and government support in the form of the Help to Buy scheme."
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- Monday 24 February 2014