The cost of a home in London hit a new record high in February as house prices continued to race ahead, figures showed today.
The average value of a property in the capital surged by 13.8 per cent during the 12 months to the end of February, to stand at £414,356 – the highest level ever recorded.
Across England and Wales as a whole property prices rose by 5.3 per cent during the same period, to leave a typical home costing £170,000, according to the Land Registry.
But there were significant regional variations in house price performance.
London led the charge, followed by the South East, which recorded annual house price of growth of 7.1 per cent, leaving the average home costing £223,733, and the East, where prices were 6.2 per cent higher year-on-year at £183,285.
But at the other end of the scale, properties prices in the North East fell by 1.3 per cent during the 12 months, with the average home costing £97,332 at the end of February.
In Yorkshire and the Humber and Wales, prices edged ahead by just 1.2 per cent and 1.7 per cent respectively.
Sales levels across England and Wales continued to rebound, with 75,182 homes changing hands in December, the latest month for which figures are available, 33 per cent more than in the same month of 2012.
Within this total, the number of homes sold for more than £1 million soared by 44 per cent to 898.
There was also a 24 per cent drop in repossessions, with 966 homes taken back by lenders during December, down from 1,278 in the same month of 2012.
Nicholas Ayre, managing director of homebuying agency Home Fusion, said: “The gulf in property prices across the UK grows ever bigger with London house prices hitting a new all-time high in February.
“Transaction volumes are rising but are still some way off the peak of the market and the lack of supply is helping fuel soaring house prices in parts of the country.”
Today’s figures are the latest in a run of positive data on the housing market.
Earlier this week the Office for National Statistics said house prices rose at their fastest rate for nearly three-and-a-half years during January, while the British Bankers’ Association said mortgage lending was up 47 per cent in February compared with a year earlier.
House prices are being stoked by a combination of rising demand on the back of the improving economy, and a shortage of supply.
Meanwhile the number of people taking their first step on the property ladder has jumped 42 per cent year-on-year, boosted by better mortgage availability and the Government’s Help to Buy scheme.
A total of 22,400 first-time buyers entered the housing market during February, according to LSL Property Services.
They put down average deposits of £25,773, the lowest level for 16 months.
Around 81 per cent of first-time buyers expect house prices to rise in the coming year, with most expecting gains of up to 5 per cent.
“That’s pushing up demand in the short term, which is supporting prices in the long term.”
A garden is often an important factor when searching for a new home. With spring in the air we’ve sought out 10 of our favourite gardens on the market.
1. The perfect place to enjoy some afternoon tea in the sun.
5 bed in Leatherhead, £2.1m – Chewton Rose
2. We love this garden pathway.
5 bed in Lapworth, £1.9m – John Shepherd
3. A ready made garden you can sink your teeth into.
5 bed in Surrey, £1.7m – Hamptons
4. It has dining, lounging, BBQing and a lake…what more could you want?
5 bed in Frodsham, £975,000 – Strutt & Parker
5. Yes that is a tree swing at the end of the garden. A beautifully practical family garden.
6 bed in Surrey, £1.9m – Seymours
6. Every good garden has a tropical style dining hut, right?
7 bed in West Sussex, £3.9m – Hamptons
7. A clever way to BBQ…this great indoor outdoor room provides garden enjoyment even through the pesky rain showers.
5 bed in Bolton, £950,950 – Miller Metcalfe
8. Your very own orchard and wild flower meadow…
5 bed in Bolton, £950,950 – Miller Metcalfe
9. This walled garden is only one stunning features in this estate…keen gardeners won’t be disappointed.
6 bed in Sevenoaks, £4.5m – Strutt & Parker
10. 2.5 acres of stunning gardens…
5 bed in Solihull, £1.9m – John Shepherd
Which are the most popular properties in March so far? Valued from £325,000 to £90m and located in a variety of places – from London to Taunton – here are the most viewed properties on Zoopla.
1. What do you get for £90m in London? It may be just a terrace house, but there are an impressive 21 bedrooms and a garage large enough for four limousines. And, of course, it is in an exclusive street in Mayfair.
2. What would you pay for a five bedroom flat? If you are seeking one of the apartments at London’s iconic One Hyde Park, you will need £68m. The accommodation spans an entire floor and boasts views of both Knightsbridge and Hyde Park.
3. A three bedroom house in Taunton is a new entry in the most popular properties chart. It is a classic 1930s detached home, with a price tag of £325,000, General improvement is required.
4. Sometimes a house comes along that makes you feel you would always be fine no matter how bad life gets. And this five bedroom terrrace in London’s Holland Park is one of those properties. After 30 years and four children, the current owner has decide it is time for someone else to make their mark. It has a £7m asking price.
5. A nine bedroom detached house in London’s prestigious confines of Kensington is being offered (POA) with full planning permission to extend the property to include a separate cottage, tennis court and garden pavilion.
6. Have you ever wondered what the interior of the house belonging to celebrity designer Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen looks like? Now is your chance as he is selling his six bedroom Cotswold for £1,750,000.
7. You may recognize this former water works in Derbyshire as its renovation featured on the popular television series Grand Designs in 2002. It comes with four bedrooms and five acres of land, and has a guide price of £700,000.
8. The Bishops Avenue in London never seems to be out of the property headlines, having been dubbed Billionaires’ Row. This nine bedroom detached home is set behind high electric gates and costs £38m.
9. This Gloucestershire property was completely renovated 16 years ago by a well known local builder and now provides a beautiful home with a gated driveway, an indoor heated swimming pool and beautiful views.
10. This nine bedroom mansion may look like it is set in the countryside, but it is in fact set in the heart of the London borough of Richmond. It is brand new and enjoys views of the River Thames and Petersham Meadows. (POA)
Borrowers affected by a leading lender’s decision to increase the mortgage rates on their buy-to-let deals have signed up to protest as part of a group action. More than 400 mortgages have joined the legal fight, with almost £500,000 raised to help fight the case.
West Bromwich Building Society announced its decision last year to increase tracker mortgages by two percentage points.
Landlords say the lender has no legal grounds to make the move and have launched a group action to protect. Those interested in taking part have until the end of tomorrow to sign up.
The group had initially sought 250 mortgage cases to be part of the action but this target has already been passed with 295 mortgage cases signed up.
Ray Boulger, of mortgage brokers John Charcol, said: “By only targeting BTL borrowers with more than two mortgages West Brom appears to be adopting the cynical approach that the courts will take the view the mortgages affected are commercial and hence borrowers can not rely on the Unfair Consumer Terms legislation. This implies it accepts what it is doing is unfair, which rather seems to go against one of the things which most mutuals claim sets them apart from the banks.”
Borrowers affected will be charged a fee of £1,509 per mortgage represented and must sign up using the Property 118 website by 5pm on Friday, March 28.