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The Office of National Statistics has revealed that the average house price in the UK risen £31,000 to £281,000 in the 12 months to April 2022, according to its latest Housing Price Index data.
The North-west saw the second highest housing price of any English region rise over the last 12 months, with the average home increasing in value to £208,867, representing an annual rise of 13.3%, a rate of increase exceeded only by the South-west. The North-east remains the cheapest region of the UK to purchase property, while London, where median property prices now exceed £530,000, saw the slowest growth at just 7.9%.
The ONS has attributed the heat in the housing market over the past year in part to the Covid-19 support of the Stamp Duty freeze, which by cutting fees for buyers, may have allowed sellers to inflate their asking prices.
Commenting on the data, James Briggs, head of personal finance intermediary sales at specialist lender Together, warned the housing market may slow as a result of rising inflation and mortgage interest rates:
“The housing market continues to show how unpredictable it can be, as property prices rose to 12.4% in April, despite wider economic turmoil and inflationary pressures. However, I’d expect to see the increased cost of living, leading to squeezed household finances paving the way for a more sluggish housing market this summer.
“The Bank of England’s decision to withdraw their stress testing recommendations this August has had mixed reviews. While this could mean more first time buyers are able to overcome strict lending criteria barriers, there are fears this move will only further inflate the market as demand outstrips supply and wage growth.
“With consumer confidence at an all-time low and mortgage rates on the rise, buyers may be more hesitant in increasing their debt and instead may shift their financial priorities towards battling rising household costs.”