House prices across England and Wales have increased by 6.7% compared to April last year, according to figures released today by the Land Registry.
On a monthly basis prices have increased by 1.5%, which leaves the average house price currently standing at £172,069. However, this figure is fuelled by increases in London which shows a monthly increase of 4.2% and an annual change of 17%, considerably higher than the rest of the country. The average house price in the capital alone is a staggering £435,034.
Not everywhere, however, is seeing such dramatic rises with the North East being the only area to actually report a monthly fall of 1.9%. The annual increase also shows the difference location can make, posting a rise of just 2.9%, with the average price of a property in the North East being a much more affordable £99,001. The county-by-county differences are even greater, with Blaenau Gwent in Wales, for example, seeing an annual price fall of 19.4%.
Andy Frankish, of the Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB), comments: "As the housing market goes from strength to strength, prices are continuing on their upward trend. Annual growth of 6.7 per cent will no doubt be good news for those who not so long ago were victims of a stagnant market and unable to draw on enough equity to consider a move up the property ladder. Drastically reduced repossessions (down 33% year-on-year) should also confound the cynics and are an encouraging sign that we are largely witnessing healthy growth and moving forward on a steady footing.
"Unsurprisingly, London has seen the biggest boost in house prices. It has long been established that the capital is on its own trajectory, mostly due to the strong influence of external factors such as foreign investment and the rise of cash buyers, as well as a shortage of suitable properties.
"Supporting house builders will require long-term commitment and decisive action across all political parties if we are to address the chronic shortage of supply of new homes needed to meet growing demand. The time to bemoan the dizzying growth of house prices has long since passed: now is the time for clear solutions to get Britain's building levels back on track."
The Land Registry is the Government's house price survey recording all completed house sales in England and Wales. Regarded as being one of the most reliable and authoritative, it compares the actual price paid for property on completion and includes both cash and mortgage purchases, but as the data comes at the end of the purchase there can be a delay, meaning this index is probably a better interpretation of a trend rather than a prediction of future prices.
With prices still on the up there is a worry that first-time buyers (FTBs) may be getting priced out of the market, and that, in London especially, a housing bubble may be resulting. But there are always winners and losers in any arena, and with many homeowners enjoying increased equity in their homes, it has perhaps enabled them to move up the ladder.
With the stricter Mortgage Market Rules now in force, a rate rise looming and Help to Buy phase 2 continuing to assist FTBs to get onto the ladder, hopefully the market will calm to a steady pace and the door will still remain open to most people in realising their dream of property ownership.
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