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Official: Double-digit annual rise in UK house prices

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Prices are soaring, but will the housing market continue its boom or will the bubble burst?
Official: Double-digit annual rise in UK house prices

The average UK house price was £256,000 in March 2021 – £24,000 higher than in March 2020, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Property prices increased by 10.2% over the year to March 2021, the highest annual growth rate the UK has seen since August 2007.

Average prices rose to £275,000 in England, £185,000 in Wales, £167,000 in Scotland and £149,000 in Northern Ireland.

London continues to be the region with the lowest annual growth (3.7%) for the fourth consecutive month. The fastest-rising prices are in Yorkshire and the Humber, where they’re up 14% in a year.

Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “We’re back to the kind of double-figure house price rises we saw in the heady days before the financial crisis. And while lenders are far more cautious than they were back in 2007, in this kind of market, there’s still the risk buyers will lose their heads, and make a property mistake that could haunt them for years.

“For first-time buyers, this is a hideous market. Average prices are up £24,000 in a year, so saving a 10% deposit has needed £2,400 extra in savings. The stamp duty tax break for first time buyers purchasing a property worth less than £300,000 means enormous numbers of them aren’t even saving any tax to make up for it.

“In this kind of market, properties often go for well over the asking price – sometimes after a bidding war. It’s far too easy to be sucked into paying thousands of pounds more than you initially planned.”

The space race

The ONS also noted that the pandemic may have caused buyers to reassess their housing preferences.

It said that the average price of detached properties increased by 11.7% in the year to March 2021, compared to flats and maisonettes rising by just 5.0% over the same period.

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