Property prices in England and Wales up 5.3% year on year, latest index shows
Fri 28 Mar 2014
House prices in England and Wales increased by 0.7% in February compared to the previous month and are up 5.3% year on year, according to the latest Land Registry House Price Index.
It means that the average house price in England and Wales is now 170,000 compared with the peak of 181,658 in November 2007.
The data also shows that London saw the fastest 12 month price rises of any region in England and Wales, up by 13.8%. However, Wales experienced the greatest monthly rise, with prices up 1.6% since January.
The North East experienced the only annual price fall of 1.3%, and the North East also saw the biggest monthly price fall, down 1.4%.
The most up to date figures available show that during December 2013 the number of completed house sales in England and Wales increased by 33% to 75,182 compared with 56,697 in December 2012. There were also 966 repossessions in England and Wales during December 2013.
According to David Brown, commercial director of LSL Property Services, the index shows that the property recovery is rapidly gaining altitude, an acceleration thats gradually lifting every corner of the UK.
Most importantly, its not just prices that are rising, but the number of people moving home too. This momentum is entirely sustainable, although the next stage in this extraordinary take off will be a rekindling of the construction industry, he said.
Already, there are strong flickers of life from house builders, and these seem set to ignite fully. If that can happen in the next few years, the UK will be able to unleash the true potential of a property market supplied with enough homes to match demand, he explained.
In the meantime, progress for those at the bottom of the ladder will depend on first time mortgages remaining accessible, coupled with even more investment from landlords in a growing private rented sector, he added.
Peter Rollings, chief executive officer at estate agents Marsh & Parsons, also believes the figures are evidence of a housing market recovery but pointed out that the annual property price growth of 5.3% in the year to February is not being felt uniformly.
Some regions are still experiencing a fall in house prices. Property values in the North East actually fell 1.4% in the month to February. Overall, average house prices across England and Wales are still 6% lower than the November 2007 peak, which should help to quieten the noisy minority scaremongering about a housing market bubble, he said.
But the London property market continues to operate in its own microclimate, with annual increases in property values of nearly 14%, in stark contrast to the nationwide picture. Demand in the capital is far higher than the rest of the UK, and this creates a unique environment, unrepresentative of the market as a whole, he explained.
London has had a four year head start on the path to the recovery, and the reality is that other parts of the country are only just catching up. Offering gold standard property investment, prime London attracts a steady stream of buyers from both the UK and abroad, he added.
He also pointed out that competition for the best properties means that so far in 2014 the firm has recorded many properties selling extremely quickly and for closer to or above asking price than in the last several years.
But supply should start to catch up in the Spring, as more sellers come to market and ease the pressure on the capitals limited housing stock, helping conditions to stabilise, he said.