The Office for National Statistics has revealed that UK house prices have increased by 8% in the year to the end of March.
According to the report, London saw the largest property price gains with a 17% increase recorded in the 12 months up until March. The average price of a property in London now stands at £459,000.
“House prices are increasing strongly across most parts of the UK, with prices in London again showing the highest growth,” the ONS report stated.
Over the same period of time, house prices in the South East of England (excluding London) saw a 4.7% rise and properties in the East of England were up 6.6%.
Property prices in Wales increased by 4.9%, in Northern Ireland prices were up by 0.3% and a 0.8% rise was recorded in Scotland.
March price decline
Despite the year-on-year increase, property prices were down 0.5% in March when compared to February, marking the first recorded month-on-month price decrease in one year.
The average UK property price now stands at £252,000, slightly below February’s peak of £253,000.
The new ONS data shows that a typical first time buyer now pays 10% more today than they did one year ago. In March the average starter home cost around £193,000.
With price increases fuelled by the government’s Help to Buy scheme, the Prime Minister has stated that he will consider changes to the initiative to help stabilise the market.
However not all property experts agree that the Help to Buy scheme is the cause for rising property prices.
Simon Aldous, Director Valuations, Savills recently commented: ‘The stories about an overheated market due to the UK Government’s Help to Buy scheme are not true, if you look at the statistics they make up just 1% of the market and are concentrated in the lower value properties. That’s not to say that there might not be issues on the horizon. If prices or interest rates rise too fast then we could see a bubble in 2018/19. The main issue at the moment is the north/south divide with prices in the north not expected to go up much more than inflation, but prime areas in the south are currently catching up with London rises.’