House prices have increased strongly annually across the UK, says latest ONS index

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UK house prices increased by 11.7% in the year to August 2014, unchanged from the year to July 2014, according to the latest index from the Office of National Statistics (ONS). House price annual inflation was 12.2% in England, 4.7% in Wales, 6.7% in Scotland and 9.6% in Northern Ireland. The index report says that house prices are increasing strongly across the UK, with prices in London again showing the highest growth. Annual house price increases in England were driven by an annual increase in London of 19.6% and to a lesser extent increases in the South East of 12.3% and the East of 11.6%. However, excluding London and the South East, UK house prices increased by 7.8% in the 12 months to August 2014. On a seasonally adjusted basis, average house prices increased by 0.6% between July and August 2014, the data also shows. In August 2014, prices paid by first time buyers were 12.9% higher on average than in August 2013. For existing owners prices increased by 11.2% for the same period. ‘While price growth dulls, activity in the market is still vibrant, and total house sales completions are up 16% year on year in September. First time buyers have been bringing much of the vitality and optimism to the party,’ said David Newnes, director of Reeds Rains and Your Move estate agents. ‘While the market adapts to a mellower beat, schemes like Help to Buy and an accessible lending environment are essential to ensure that confidence isn’t silenced, and activity continues to sing,’ he added. He pointed out that a North/South divide remains evident in the race back from the debris of the financial crash. For six regions of the UK, average property prices achieved on completion are yet to match their pre-crisis score. The North has the furthest ground to travel, with average prices still 8.3% or £13,400 below their housing boom high in March 2008. The London property scene is on a different scale to the rest of the country. ‘Overall, the capital has seen the strongest housing market recovery, with prices having now grown 47.3% from their previous peak in February 2008. However, the rate of annual house price inflation in the capital eased in August, as we see growth relaxing into a slower tempo from the heady pulse earlier this year,’ said Newnes. Continue reading →

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