This week, ONS confirmed reports of continuing, rapid, house price growth with the release of their latest House Price Index. Their data shows that the average UK house price increased by 10.2% between March 2020 and March 2021 - the highest rate of growth since August 2007. In cash terms this means the average UK house was worth £24,000 more in March, than it was last year.
England leads the way, with an average house price of £275,000 in March 2021, followed by Wales (£185,000), then Scotland (£167,000).
While some may be worried about rates of growth like we saw in 2007, in another period of economic downturn (as caused by the pandemic), commentators have been quick to point out that there are more security structures in place which help reduce levels of economic risk. Many banks have spent the past decade bolstering their capital reserves, mortgages are much harder to qualify for, and the limits on the amounts you can borrow have become stricter. Sam Brodbeck of The Telegraph summarises: ‘There will be no return of the infamous ‘self certification’ loans, or Northern Rock’s Together mortgage, which lent 125pc of a property’s value.'
Note: The ONS House Price Index is based on data from sales that have actually completed in the UK, rather than looking at asking prices, or mortgage valuations - like other popular indices. This means it’s usually a more accurate indicator of what’s going on with house prices. But it also suffers from a delay, as the data is only collected once the sale has officially completed, which can be over a month from when the sale was originally agreed.
Curious about the value of homes in your area right now? We track various market indicators - including the ONS House Price Index - at a local level. Just pop in your postcode here, to get up-to-date information on the property market in your area.
Over the past year, much of the house price growth has been driven by those in city centres looking to move to larger properties in greener areas. But now, research from Rightmove suggests that demand for city centre homes is returning.
The property portal measures buyer demand by looking at how many people contact estate agents for details about a property for sale on their site. While three-bedroom houses have consistently been the most popular property type over the past year, this month Rightmove saw a huge uplift in the number of potential buyers enquiring about flats.
On top of this, they found that growth in buyer demand in urban areas is now outperforming growth in rural areas for the first time since before the pandemic started. The portal reports that the biggest jumps in demand were seen in York, Norwich, and Sheffield.
They speculate that the easing of Covid restrictions has increased the appeal of living in a city centre again. Tim Bannister, Director of Property Data, commented: ‘Right now some buyers are able to grab a relative city bargain compared to the heady price growth outside cities, but these early signs of demand could be the start of city prices rising again.’
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