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What slowdown? House prices up 12% according to ONS

Date online: 18/11/2014

Despite other surveys suggesting a slowdown, the statistics showed that there was an 18.8% annual rise in prices in London.

Excluding London and the South East, UK house prices increased by 9.1% in the 12 months to September 2014.

The report also revealed that house price annual inflation was 12.5% in England, 5.8% in Wales, 7.6% in Scotland and 10.9% in Northern Ireland.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, average house prices increased by 0.5% between August and September 2014.

Brian Murphy, Head of Lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB), comments:

“House price growth has often been billed as a cause for concern over the last year, but for many of the UK’s homeowners – including more than 11 million mortgage holders – the recovery has delivered a long awaited boost to their housing equity. Recovering property values are giving many the leverage they need to negotiate a better mortgage deal with lower monthly repayments, so it’s unsurprising that remortgage applications are rising as a result.

The fact that annual house price comparisons still remain in double figures might seem detrimental to first-time buyers, but there has been a visible cooling in the rate of house price growth in recent months. This has helped to maintain consumer demand, with purchase applications up by almost a fifth compared to this time last year. Overall year-to-date mortgage applications have also already surpassed the 2013 year total.

However, it is important that the industry does not become complacent and forget its responsibility towards first-time buyers who are not able to save for a hefty deposit. Widespread availability of higher loan-to-value (LTV) products on new builds as well as existing properties will be vital to give potential buyers the leg-up onto the property ladder they need.”

David Newnes, director of Reeds Rains and Your Move estate agents, comments:  “Recent hiccups in the market have not shaken the overall underlying stability. Zooming in on the regional footprints unearths a more complex path of growth – as the recovery continues to advance with a Southern-leaning slant. If we omit London and the South East from our calculations, a milder annual change in property prices emerges. Yet at the very top end of the housing market in Prime Central areas of London, growth is subsiding.

According to our own research, October saw the highest level of house sales completed in a month since November 2007. This increased level of house sale completions marks a considerable – though laborious – reflection of the increased buyer activity earlier in the year since the recession zapped the energy from the market.  Not only this, but activity is starting to shift towards areas where the recovery still requires support and attention.

The biggest uplift in completions in Q3 2014 compared to Q3 2013 has been witnessed outside of London – completed house sales in both the West Midlands and East Midlands have risen 22%, while in London house sale completions are up by just 3% over the same period. Further growth in activity is critical to warm up the local recovery. First-time buyers in particular need shielding from any future cooling interventions from the government or Bank of England.”

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