UK house prices up 7.6% in last year
UK house prices increased by 7.6% in the year to February 2016, according to the Office for National Statistics, down from 7.9% in the year to January 2016.
The rise pushed the UK average house price in February to £284,000.
But there were wide variations across the UK, with strong house price annual inflation of 8.2% in England, compared to a fall in prices of 0.8% in Scotland. Wales saw property prices rise by 2.8% in Wales, and Northern Ireland they increased 2.4%.
Driving the market
Unsurprisingly, annual house price increases in England were driven by a double digit rise in the South East (11.4%) and the East (10.3%) and a 9.7% rise in London.
Excluding London and the South East, UK house prices increased by 5.0% in the 12 months to February.
Rob Weaver, director of investments at Property Partner, said: “Despite a slight softening in the housing market, hard-pressed first-time buyers are still feeling the pinch, with average prices paid by them (£214,000), racing ahead faster than for other home buyers.
“Scotland saw a dip in average annual house prices perhaps reflecting the fallout of tumbling North Sea oil prices, with the Aberdeen property market particularly hard hit. Whereas England has outperformed all other nations in the Union with London and the South East at full throttle, driving the upward trend in the housing market.
“It’s a mixed bag in other regions with a stark reminder of the gaping north-south divide – you can buy three properties in the North East for the average prices you’d pay in London – an eye-watering £524,000.
“There’s a mood of uncertainty over the EU referendum in June which may put a dampener on prices, but with demand across the board so strong and supply so weak, rock-bottom interest rates and a buoyant jobs market, prices look set to continue their upward trajectory towards the second half of the year.”