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UK house prices increased by 5.2% in the year to July 2015, taking the mix adjusted price of a home to £282,000, according to the latest data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS). This mean annual growth was down slightly from 5.7% in the year to June 2015 and excluding London and the South East, which tend to have higher prices, the average annual growth was 4.4%. A breakdown of the figures show that the average mix-adjusted house prices in July 2015 stood at £295,000 in England, £173,000 in Wales, £154,000 in Northern Ireland and £196,000 in Scotland. London continued to be the English region with the highest average house price at £525,000 and the North East had the lowest average house price at £156,000. London, the South East and the East all had prices higher than the UK average price of £282,000. House price annual inflation was 5.6% in England, 0.3% in Wales, 7.4% in Northern Ireland and down 1.3% in Scotland. Annual house price increases in England were driven by an annual increase in the East of 8.3% and the South East at 6.7%. The data also shows that in July 2015, prices paid by first time buyers were 4.4% higher on average than in July 2014. For owner occupiers (existing owners), prices increased by 5.5% for the same period. Overall average house prices in seven of the nine 9 English regions are at record levels, with prices in the North West surpassing the pre-economic downturn peak of January 2008 for the first time. The only English regions not now at record levels are the North East and Yorkshire and The Humber. It is weak supply that is driving up prices, according to Rob Weaver, director of property at residential investment platform Property Partner. ‘The supply issue is nothing less than an enigma. Given that properties overall are commanding decent prices, you would expect to see more people selling. Something in the market is broken. Even though employment levels are strong, consumer confidence may not be as robust as surveys suggest,’ he said. ‘Many households are almost certainly wary of not being able to secure a mortgage under the new lending rules, and that could be impacting their intent to move. Households have almost certainly become more conservative in the wake of the global financial crisis. Paying debt down has become more appealing than racking it up,’ he pointed out. ‘Many are doubtless sitting on their hands until the economic picture gets clearer because the recovery has become less definitive during the first half of the year. This latest data shows that the property market has become a lot more balanced, with sustainable levels of price growth across a number of regions. It is almost a relief to see prices in the capital growing at 5.5%, compared to the high double digit growth rates of a two years ago,’ he added. Peter Rollings, chief executive officer of Marsh & Parsons, comments pointed… Continue reading →
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