UK house prices leap 12.4% to hit an average £281,000

Shake out of stamp duty changes added to spike in past year

UK average house prices increased by 12.4 per cent in the year to April 2022.
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Average house prices in the UK increased by 12.4 per cent over the year to April, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

That was up from an increase of 9.7 per cent in March 2022.

The average UK house price was £281,000 ($344,919) in April, which is £31,000 higher than in April 2021.

The figures come as the country wrestles with a cost of living crisis, growing inflation — currently standing at 9.1 per cent — and the threat of major strikes. The country has already been brought to a standstill this week by the biggest rail strike in a generation.

Some property professionals pointed to more recent figures indicating a softening in the housing market.

They also highlighted a nervousness about taking on debt when it is unclear when the living costs surge will start to level out.

Chris Jenkins, prices statistician for the ONS, said: “While annual growth nudged up again in April, this was mainly due to falls seen at this time last year from changes in the previous stamp duty holiday.”

Wales and Scotland saw the highest growth with London growing the slowest.

Average house prices increased over the year in England to £299,000 (11.9 per cent), in Wales to £212,000 (16.2 per cent), in Scotland to £188,000 (16.2 per cent), and in Northern Ireland to £165,000 (10.4 per cent).

Mr Jenkins added: “Rental prices continue to grow steadily overall. However, while still lagging other nations and regions, growth in London continues to pick up.”

The ONS said that the total number of processed transactions feeding into this month's figures increased compared with the numbers seen throughout the coronavirus pandemic period.

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Jason Tebb, chief executive officer of property search website OnTheMarket.com, said since the ONS’s latest house price data: “Evidence of a rise in the number of new instructions means we are seeing the beginning of an inevitable rebalancing of supply and demand.”

Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent and a former residential chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics), said the fact the report deals with figures from a couple of months ago “means it is not yet showing the softening in demand picked up by other reports over the past few weeks.

“We are seeing increasing nervousness about taking on debt at a time when buyers and sellers have no real clue as to when and how the rising cost of living will start to level out.

“Nevertheless, continuing lack of choice and strong employment prospects means there is still little chance of significant price changes over the next few months at least.”

Nicky Stevenson, managing director of estate agent group Fine & Country said: “Gains are being driven in part by equity-rich homeowners looking to trade up.”

Alex Lyle, director of Antony Roberts estate agency based in Richmond, London, said: “Large family houses in the £1.5 million-plus bracket are still going to best and final offers but things that need work are more of a struggle as people are nervous about rising building costs. Flats are also sticking, especially those with no outside space.”

Michael Bruce, CEO and founder of property website Boomin, said: “It’s important to remember that while sold prices provide the most concrete health check of the UK property market, they are reported on a lag.

“So while the market remains apparently unphased by a spate of base rate jumps and consequential impact this is likely to have on the spending power of UK buyers, the reality is that this declining market sentiment is yet to bubble to the surface.

“However, while these growing economic headwinds may rock the boat of house price growth, sustained and robust levels of buyer demand, coupled with a shortage of stock, are sure to prevent a significant drop.”

Updated: June 23, 2022, 4:31 AM
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