Posts filed under ‘House Prices’

More than 100,000 homes snapped up last month before ‘prices slip out of reach’

The number of homes changing hands jumped by 30 per cent during the past year as the property market continued to recover, Government figures showed today.

zoopla keys

A total of 106,070 properties were sold for more than £40,000 in the UK during March, according to HM Revenue & Customs.

The number was 30 per cent higher than in the same month of 2013 and the second highest figure recorded since December 2007.

But the total was slightly down on the number of homes that were sold during February, when 111,120 residential transactions were completed on a seasonally adjusted basis.

The slight dip in month-on-month sales had been expected following a fall in mortgage approvals for house purchase reported by the Bank of England for February.

The decrease should help to calm fears that a bubble is developing in the property market following recent strong house price gains.

Halifax said property values rose at their fastest rate for nearly six-and-a-half years during the first quarter of 2014, with prices up 8.7 per cent year-on-year.

The National Association of Estate Agents also reported that demand among potential buyers was so strong in March that one in five people paid more than the asking price in order to secure a home.

Recent gains have left the average property in England costing £259,745, according to Zoopla.

A total of 321,150 properties were sold in the UK during the first quarter of the year, the highest quarterly total since the final three months of 2007, according HMRC.

But it pointed out that although residential property transactions had increased significantly year-on-year, they still remained well down on the peak of nearly 150,000 homes changing hands each month in late 2006 and early 2007 before the credit crisis struck.

Meanwhile, separate research showed that homeowners remain bullish about house price gains going forward.

Consumers who own a property expect values to rise by an average of 8.8 per cent between now and September – nearly twice the rate of increase they predicted this time last year, according to research carried out by Zoopla.

A record 95 per cent of homeowners expect house prices to rise in the coming six months, with just 2 per cent predicting they will fall, significantly down on the 13 per cent who expected losses in 2013.

People in the South East are most upbeat about prospects for the property market, with 98 per cent expecting house price rises, while those in London anticipate the biggest gains of 12 per cent in the coming six months.

But in all regions of Great Britain more than 89 per cent of homeowners think the value of their property will increase in the months ahead.

Homeowners in the South West are predicting the lowest growth at just over 7 per cent, but even this would equate to an annual rate of more than 14 per cent.

Zoopla’s Lawrence Hall said: “Homeowners are expecting house prices to rise at a higher rate than ever before, and this confidence in the property market recovery is finally filtering out of London and across the UK.


Lawrence Hall

“With prospective sellers eager to take advantage of a buoyant market and buyers wanting to snap up the best properties before they slip out of reach, indications suggest the market will remain strong over the coming months as increased supply and buoyed confidence drives activity on all rungs of the ladder.”


April 23, 2014 at 11:12 AM Leave a comment

Paying over the asking price is reality for one in five buyers

One in five buyers paid more than the asking price in March as competition for properties intensified, figures showed today.

Asking prices

The average number of properties estate agents had on their books fell for the sixth consecutive month during March to stand close to a 10-year low, the National Association of Estate Agents said.

But the shortage of stock did not stop the number of sales agreed per branch rising to an average of 10 during the month.

The combination of limited supply and fierce competition among buyers led to 19 per cent of properties selling for more than their asking price.

Jan Hÿtch, president of National Association of Estate Agents, said:“The supply crisis continues to deepen, and the Government must act now to offer house hunters hope in an increasingly congested market.

“Current conditions mean that in just a few months we’ve seen a large increase in the amount of people willing to offer over market price to secure homes.”

But buyers can still find properties with reduced prices if they do their research.

Here are some properties with reduced asking prices:

1. Six bedroom detached period stone farmhouse in Skipton reduced from £735,000 to £675,000.

17.04.14 Reduced 1

2. Seven bedroom detached house in Brentwood reduced from £885,000 for £835,000

17.04.14 Reduced 3

3. Six bedroom detached house in Plymouth reduced from £2,500,000 to £2m.

17.04.14 Reduced 2


April 17, 2014 at 12:08 PM Leave a comment

UPDATED: House prices rise by almost double figures

Property values hit a new record high during February as house price growth continued to accelerate, Government figures showed today.

House prices 3

The average cost of a home increased by 9.1 per cent during the year to the end of February, up from an annual rate of 6.8 per cent in January, and the highest level of year-on-year growth since June 2010.

There was also a strong jump in February itself, with property prices rising by 1.9 per cent during the month.

The gain pushed average house prices in the UK up to £253,000 – a £20,000 increase compared with the same month of 2013, and the highest level ever recorded by the Office for National Statistics.

London continued to drive the rest of the property market, with average prices 17.7 per cent higher in the capital than they had been a year earlier to stand at £458,000.

The South East and the East saw the next strongest gains at 8 per cent and 7.7 per cent respectively, although this was less than half the level of growth seen in London.

Once London and the South East were stripped out, house prices across the rest of the UK edged ahead by 5.8 per cent during the 12 months.

But despite the slower rate of growth outside of the south, all regions of the UK posted positive house price inflation during the 12 months to the end of February.

In England, growth outside of the south was fastest in the East Midlands at 7.6 per cent, while it was slowest in the North East with prices 2.9 per cent higher than they had been a year earlier.

The average cost of a home rose by 5.3 per cent year-on-year in Wales, while property values were 2.8 per cent higher in Northern Ireland and 2.4 per cent up in Scotland.

But despite the increases, the average cost of a home in Northern Ireland is still 50.2 per cent below the pre-crisis peak reached in August 2007.

Typical prices in Scotland and Wales are also lower at 6.8 per cent and 2.4 per cent below the peaks reached in 2008 respectively.

But while the recent strong gains are good news for existing homeowners, they are bad news for first-time buyers.

This group paid an average of 10.5 per cent more for their first home than people getting on to the property ladder had a year earlier, at an average of £192,000.

Today’s data is the latest in a raft of strong figures on the property market.

Nationwide said house prices rose for the fifthteenth consecutive month in March, while Halifax said annual house price inflation was rising at its fastest rate for nearly six-and-a-half years.

David Newnes, director of Your Move and Reeds Rains owned by LSL Property Services, said: “The housing recovery is continuing and is rippling throughout the regions which are now reaping the benefits.
“Taking the London market out of the equation average prices have risen at a sustainable 5.8 per cent over the past year.

“Confidence among aspiring buyers has seen an uplift from a more prosperous economy, a more accessible mortgage market and rejuvenated jobs environment.”

Recent strong gains have left the average home in England costing £259,745, according to Zoopla.

But fears that a bubble may be building up in the market were eased by Bank of England figures showing that the number of mortgages approved for house purchase actually dipped slightly during February.


April 15, 2014 at 9:58 AM Leave a comment

Buyers return to the market to push property sales to 6 year high

Property sales jumped to a six-year high during the first quarter of the year as buyers continued to return to the market, figures showed today.

House sales

The average chartered surveyor estate agent sold 22.7 homes in the three months to the end of March, the highest level since February 2008, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

The group said the pick up in activity occurred across Britain, with all regions seeing an increase in inquiries from potential buyers, apart from Wales, where interest was static following strong growth in the previous months.

At the same time, there was a big increase in newly agreed sales outside of London and the South East for the second consecutive month.

But the group said that while activity was now encouraging in areas of the country where it had previously been stagnant, the market continued to be hampered by a shortage of homes being put up for sale.

It added that the predicted ‘spring bounce’ had failed to materialise, with new instructions falling for the third month in a row.

The imbalance between supply and demand continued to push prices higher during the month, with 57 per cent more surveyors reporting price rises than those who recorded falls.

Outside of London and the South East, price gains were strongest in the South West and East Midlands.

It was the eleventh consecutive month in which house price rises had been recorded by the survey across Britain as a whole, the longest period of consistent growth since the onset of the financial crisis.

With no sign that the current shortage of homes on the market will ease any time soon, surveyors expect property prices to continue rising into the summer.

Overall, 48 per cent more surveyors expect the value of property to increase during the coming three months, while 77 per cent more expect gains over the coming 12 months.

Looking further ahead, surveyors now expect annual house price inflation to average 6 per cent per annum during the next five years.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said: “Now that the housing market recovery is well and truly underway and mortgage finance is more readily available, buyers seem to be looking to test the market right across the country, not just in the usual hot spots of the South East.”

Simon Rubinsohn

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist

But he said it was a “major concern” that enough houses to meet this demand were not coming on to the market.

He said: “For the market to operate effectively, we desperately need more homes in areas where people want to buy and want to live.

“Until this happens we’re likely to see prices continue to increase and it is going to be ever harder for many first-time buyers to conceive of ever owning their own home.”

Today’s figures come after Nationwide said house prices rose for the fifthteenth consecutive month in March, while Halifax said annual house price inflation was rising at its fastest rate for nearly six-and-a-half years, although it reported a price fall on a monthly basis.

Recent strong gains have left the average home in England costing £259,745, according to Zoopla.

But other data suggests there is not a bubble building up in the market, with mortgage approvals for house purchase actually falling slightly during February, according to the Bank of England.

April 10, 2014 at 6:30 AM Leave a comment

House prices rise at fastest rate

House prices rose at their fastest rate for nearly six-and-a-half years during the first quarter as demand from potential buyers remained strong, figures showed today.

House prices 2

The average cost of a home was 8.7 per cent higher in the three months to the end of March than it had been in the same period of 2013, the highest rate of annual growth since October 2007, according to Halifax.

Stephen Noakes

Stephen Noakes, mortgages director at Halifax

Stephen Noakes, mortgages director at Halifax, said: “Housing demand continues to be supported by an improving economic outlook, growth in employment, rising consumer confidence and low interest rates.”

But on a monthly basis prices dipped slightly, falling by 1.1 per cent during March to leave the average property costing £178,249.

The fall followed particularly strong growth seen during February, when prices jumped by 2.5 per cent.

Halifax also stressed that monthly changes could be volatile.

It added that March’s blip was only the third monthly decline recorded during the past 15 months.

When price changes are looked at on the more reliable quarterly basis, values rose by 2.3 per cent during the three month to the end of March, compared with the previous three months, the biggest quarterly jump since January 2010.

Halifax said prices were being driven up by a combination of strong demand from potential buyers and a lack of supply.

But the group said the imbalance was showing some signs of easing, with the number of new homes that developers started to build in England rising by 24 per cent during 2013 compared with a year earlier.

Mr Noakes added: “The recent strengthening in house prices is increasing the amount of equity that many homeowners have in their home.

“This will potentially encourage and enable more owners to put their property on the market for sale over the coming year, therefore boosting supply and easing pressure on prices.”

Today’s figures come after Nationwide said prices rose for the fifthteenth consecutive month during March, rising by 9.5 per cent on an annual basis.

The recent run of positive data on the housing market has caused fears in some quarters that a bubble could be developing in the market.

But figures from the Bank of England showed that mortgage approvals for house purchase actually fell by 8 per cent during February.

A further short-term dip in mortgage lending is anticipated as lenders get to grips with the new rules under the Mortgage Market Review, which comes into force later this month.

The monthly fall reported by Halifax for March should act to further ease concerns that a runaway market is developing.

Matthew Pointon, property economist at Capital Economics, said: “The stable growth in house prices is consistent with other indicators suggesting that while the housing market is continuing to recover it is not, at least at the national level, accelerating out of control.

“The most likely scenario is for house prices to make further steady gains over the coming year.

“But, at least outside central London, the conditions are not in place for prices to accelerate towards boom-like conditions.”

April 4, 2014 at 12:14 PM Leave a comment

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