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UK house prices increased by 7.2% in the year to February, down from 8.4% in the year to January 2015, according to the latest official figures from the Office of National Statistics. House price annual inflation was 7.4% in England, 1.1% in Wales, 6.4% in Scotland and 14.2% in Northern Ireland. The data confirms that annual house price growth is showing signs of slowing across the majority of the UK. Annual house price increases in England were driven by an annual increase in the East of 10.7% and in London of 9.4%. Excluding London and the South East, UK house prices increased by 5.9% in the 12 months to February 2015. The data also shows that on a seasonally adjusted basis, average house prices increased by 0.6% between January and February 2015. In February 2015, prices paid by first time buyers were 7.4% higher on average than in February 2014. For owner-occupiers (existing owners), prices increased by 7.2% for the same period. It suggests that actions taken by the Bank of England’s Policy Committee to dampen the growth of last year have done their job and put the housing market on a more stable footing for the short term at least, according to Peter Williams, executive director of the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA). ‘Seeing annual price rises dip below an annual increase of 6% outside London and the South East is a step in the right direction to improve affordability,’ he said. ‘However, in part the slowdown has only been possible by squeezing potential buyers out of the market by restricting access to finance, creating some extra breathing space for politicians to get to grips with the fundamental supply/demand imbalance,’ he added. Continue reading →
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