First-time Buyers

Average house price hits record high of £261,743

Samantha Partington
Written By:
Samantha Partington

The average property price has increased by £22,000 in the past 12 months, according to Halifax’s May house price index.

That represents a 9.5 per cent annual rise in value, the largest gain in nearly seven years

Wales has seen the strongest house price growth, with the average property value up 11.9 per cent at £190,345. Wales has led the charge for regional house price inflation and saw the biggest percentage gain for the country since April 2005.

Also experiencing annual double digit growth were homeowners in the North West and Yorkshire & Humber. Greater London property owners saw the smallest annual increase in house price inflation of 3.1 per cent.

The North East was the only region not to see year-on-year house price inflation.

UK-wide, following an average monthly increase of 1.3 per cent, more than £3,000 has been added to the price of property between April and May. Quarterly, house prices have risen by 2.4 per cent.

Russell Galley, managing director, Halifax, said: “Heading into the traditionally busy summer period, market activity continues to be boosted by the government’s stamp duty holiday, with prospective buyers racing to complete purchases in time to benefit from the maximum tax break ahead of June’s deadline, after which there will be a phased return to full rates.

“For some homebuyers, lockdown restrictions have also resulted in an unexpected build-up of savings, which can now be deployed to fund bigger deposits for bigger properties, potentially pushing property prices even higher.”

Galley said the current strength in house prices also pointed to a “deeper and long-lasting change” as buyers become more willing to spend a higher proportion of their earnings on larger properties with more space.

He added: “These trends, coupled with growing confidence in a more rapid recovery in economic activity if restrictions continue to be eased, are likely to support house prices for some time to come particularly given the continued shortage of properties for sale.”

The chief executive of The Guild of Property Professionals, Iain McKenzie, said the country’s estate agents were running low on homes to sell causing prices to soar higher than the savings made from the stamp duty holiday.

“The slow phasing out of the stamp duty holiday is unlikely to calm the market, and house prices are likely to keep rising for the foreseeable future,” he said.

“Whatever happens, the rest of the summer has the potential to be a topsy-turvy time for the property market.”

Ross Counsell, chartered surveyor and director at GoodMove, added:

“These figures follow the announcement of the government’s first homes initiative last Friday, offering first-time buyers in England a discount of up to 50% on a new-build home. However, as mortgage approvals and new buyer enquiries have risen to 44%, there is a danger that the scheme could result in more demand for properties than actual supply. All factors considered, we expect to see a continued rise in house prices for the foreseeable future, with this new scheme only adding fuel to the fire on the UK’s property boom.”