13th April 2016
UK house prices rose 7.6% in the year to February and property experts expect the "unrelenting" growth to continue.
This marked a slight dip from 7.9% in January but the market remains buoyant with the average UK home now costing £284,000, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics.
London posted the highest average house price at £524,000 and the North East was the lowest at £158,000. Excluding London and the South East, the average UK mix-adjusted house price was £216,000.
Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said the volume of mortgage approvals rose a healthy 22% in February.
“While this was partly driven by landlords and second homeowners keen to get a purchase completed before the April stamp duty hike, buyers are generally displaying some confidence in the market.
“Cheap mortgage rates, a base rate that doesn’t look as though it is rising anytime soon, and falling unemployment are giving buyers more confidence to take the plunge."
Harris added: “Limited supply is likely to be the biggest issue buyers face in the short term but it may be house price growth which is the bigger issue longer term as it continues to outpace real earnings growth by some margin.”
Stephen Smith, director of Legal & General Housing Partnerships, said house prices have continued their "unrelenting climb”.
“With the demand for housing continuing to grow, amid a lack of supply, it’s hard to see anything other than more rises to come in the short to medium term."
Jeremy Leaf, a former RICS chairman and north London estate agent, said the market should survive the stamp duty surcharge on buy-to-let.
“It is underpinned by a healthy number of first-time buyers and second steppers who are keen to take advantage of buying opportunities while competitive mortgage rates hold."