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House prices edge up in May

House prices edge up in May

Category: Mortgages

Updated: 31/05/2012
First Published: 31/05/2012

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House prices edged up in May, with figures showing that values have remained relatively stable over the last 12 months.

Figure from Nationwide show that property prices increased by 0.3% in May, taking the value of the average home to £166,022.

Prices are just 0.7% lower than in May last year, despite the UK economy dipping back into recession in the first quarter of the year and little sign of a pick-up in economic activity.

"Demand for homes remains subdued on the back of weak labour market conditions, but the lack of homes coming onto the market is providing support for prices," said Robert Gardner, chief economist at Nationwide.

"This is in part a reflection of the low rate of building in recent years which has failed to keep pace with household formation."

Figures show that house prices remain high relative to incomes, at more than five times average earnings, well above the long run average of four times earnings.

Affordability appears less stretched when comparing the cost of a mortgage to incomes.

Repayments on a typical mortgage are equal to around 31% of take home pay, the lowest level for a decade, but this is because interest rates are near three hundred year lows.

London stands out as the least affordable region, with rent taking up nearly 40% of earnings, and average house prices are more than six times earnings.

More generally, households in the south of England spend a greater proportion of their income on housing than those in the north of England .

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