Things are continuing to look up this spring, according to a report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in its latest House Price Index report. Residential property values kept increasing in February, they’ve revealed, advancing by 1.9% during the month and bringing the annual growth rate to over 9%, or notably above the 6.8% rate registered in January.
The ONS said the increase was again mainly led by developments in London’s house market, where prices surged by 17.7% compared to February 2013 to an average of £458,000, scoring their fastest annual growth since July 2007. First-time buyers continued to bear the brunt of soaring residential prices, seeing a double digit increase (10.5%) in prices.
The figures, based on transactions backed by mortgages made during the month, showed that a typical house in the UK cost £253,000 in the second month of the year. The price paid by first-time buyers was £19,000 higher than in the same period of 2013, at £192,000.
The ONS recorded an annual rise in property values of 9.7% in England alone, meaning prices in the region were higher than the rates measured before the start of the financial crisis. In addition to the solid growth rate seen in London, the office also registered a notable uptick in the values of homes up for sale in the south-east (8%) and the east of England (7.7%).
Without taking into account the growth rates exhibited by London and the south-east, prices went up by 5.8% in the year to February.
The report once again highlighted the huge variations in prices across the UK. Outside England, prices are yet to touch the levels seen before the financial turmoil, despite the relatively strong 5.3% rise in Wales and the more modest rises of 2.4% in Scotland and 2.8% in Northern Ireland.
Have you noticed this rise in property prices recently? And how has it affected you?