Prices are still ‘sky high’ despite market softening


Staff reporter (Leader Live)

HOUSE prices increased by 10 per cent in the year to November as values continued to push up “strongly” across the majority of the UK, according to an official report.

Property values increased by 0.2 per cent between October and November, taking the average house price to £271,000, which is still below an all-time high of £274,000 reached last August, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

First-time buyers face paying 11 per cent more for a property than they did a year ago, with the typical price paid by someone taking their first step on the property ladder reaching £208,000 in November.

Property prices in Northern Ireland recorded their biggest year-on-year upswing since 2007 in November.

Values in Northern Ireland increased by 11.7 per cent year on year to reach £147,000 typically, marking the highest annual increase seen there since December 2007, the ONS said.

But house prices in Northern Ireland have some way to recover to reach their previous peak levels, recorded in August 2007. Property values there are still 43 per cent below their pre-financial crisis peak, having tumbled sharply as the downturn set in.

The report said: “House prices continue to increase strongly across the majority of the UK, with prices in London again showing the highest growth.”

London property values have surged by 15.3 per cent over the last year to reach £501,000 on average. Meanwhile, typical house prices in Wales have increased by 3.1 per cent annually to reach £171,000 and values in Scotland have risen by 4.4 per cent, to reach £194,000.

The majority of regions across the UK saw average house prices reach all-time highs in August last year. But the ONS said that house prices are no longer at record levels in any region of the UK.

House prices in England are 0.8 per cent below their record levels seen in August, although they are still almost 13 per cent higher than a previous peak reached in 2008, before the economic downturn set in.

Prices in Scotland also hit a record in August, although they have since drifted to 3.0 per cent below this. Values in Scotland are also now lower than their previous high point of 2008. Prices in Wales are sitting at 0.9 per cent below their 2008 record.

Many reports showed a general cooling of the housing market as 2014 came to an end.

An increased mood of caution among house-hunters and speculation over exactly when interest rates are likely to start rising, pushing up mortgage costs, were suggested as being partly behind the slowdown.

See full story in the Whitchurch Herald

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