The latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) point to an 8% rise in UK house prices in the year to March, down slightly from February when values went up by 9.2% over 12 months.
The growth was chiefly driven by a strong 17% rise in home values in London, but the East and South East also ended the 12-month period with much higher prices, which went up by 6.6% and 6.1% respectively. Excluding London and the South East, average house prices increased by 4.7% in the year to March 2014.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, however, average home values edged down by 0.5% between February and March to £252,000. March emerged as the first month to see a monthly decline in home values for over a year, the BBC commented.
In England, house prices rose by an average of 8.5% in the 12 months to March, while in Wales the growth rate was measured at 4.9%. Prices in Scotland inched up 0.8% and the rise in Northern Ireland was 0.3%.
The figures also revealed a 10% annual rise in prices paid by first-time buyers in March. Existing owners saw prices go up by 7.2% on average in the period.
This steep rise in house prices poses a real risk to the recovery of the country’s economy, Bank of England’s governor Mark Carney warned last week. In an interview with the BBC, Prime Minister David Cameron said he shared Carney’s concerns, hinting at a possible scale back of the Help to Buy scheme if the Bank of England believes the housing market is overheating.
For all first-time buyers these price increases making purchasing a house even more difficult. Whether first-time buyer or not, how are you being affected?