Average house prices in England and Wales remained static in May but were 4.6% higher than a year ago, according to the latest Land Registry figures.
This takes the average listing value to £179,696, just under what it was at the peak of the housing market in November 2007.
The data also shows that London and the South East experienced the greatest increase in their average listing value over the last 12 months, both with a rise of 9.1% while the East and North East experienced the greatest monthly rise at 1.6%.
Wales saw the only annual price fall with a decrease of 0.6% and also saw the largest monthly price decrease with a fall of 1.7%.
The number of completed house sales in England and Wales decreased by 12% to 59,311 compared with 67,321 in March 2014.
The number of listings sold in England and Wales for over £1 million decreased by 6% to 842 from 893 a year earlier.
Peter Rollings, chief executive officer of Marsh & Parsons, said that while the monthly house price change was static, it is positive that annual improvements across the UK means prices are almost back to the November 2007 peak.
‘The post-election feel good factor will soon serve up higher prices or transaction levels, and the market is set for future growth given the improved buyer confidence and increased supply of listings we’ve seen throughout June. High end buyers continue to court prestigious London listings and, as a result, prices will continue to rise sustainably in central areas,’ he pointed out.
According to John Goodall, chief executive of lender Landbay, it is good news that repossessions are retreating, household earnings are gathering pace, house price growth is positive yet sustainable and behind the scenes, mortgage lending is responding to all these factors with a growing sense of confidence.
‘To keep this progress rolling, confidence must be backed by caution. Mortgage underwriting matters in the good times as much as the bad and risks need to be properly controlled. Strong fundamentals combined with high quality underwriting will bring new investment into the mortgage market from traditional sources of funding to retail investment through new peer to peer models,’ he said.
‘With time, a steady expansion of mortgage lending will be good for everyone. Rather than an unsustainable charge, the supply of new homes will feed on this solidity of demand from first time buyers and landlords. In short, there are no easy answers but the tide is turning for the better,’ he added.
However, Steve Bolton, chairman of Platinum Property Partners (PPP), said there should be concern that prices for many people are racing ahead of wages for most people. ‘This has stretched affordability, pushing a home purchase further out of reach for many,’ he added.
He pointed out that the rental sector is likely to come under increased pressure as growing numbers of people look to it for longer term solutions to their housing needs. ‘It is therefore of the upmost importance that the market is able to meet the needs of a growing population of renters, and provide them with high quality and affordable housing,’ he explained.
Adrian Gill, director of Your Move and Reeds Rains estate agents, pointed out that at the start of May house price rises were on pause due to the general election but since then demand has picked up.
‘The election outcome had more of a bearing on the London market than other parts of the country with a mooted mansion tax weighing more heavily on the minds of high end buyers, not long after the introduction of a heavier stamp duty,’ he said.
‘As a result, price rises in neighbouring regions are almost neck and neck with the capital, and there’s been an interesting calibration as more affordable regions like the East of England push their way to the front of the pack with the fastest price growth,’ he explained.
‘At the lower end of the housing ladder, vigorous demand is setting the pace for activity over the coming months. Buyers are being cheered on by some of the best conditions we’ve ever had for the listing market such as record low interest rates, mortgage rates, and plenty of support schemes like Help to Buy,’ he added.
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Source: Property News Spain