The latest government house price index from the Office for National Statistics shows that house prices across the UK rose by an average of 7.7 per cent in the year to the end of November.
Across the national regions, this meant an annual rise of 8.3 per cent in England, 1.3 per cent in Wales, 0.4 per cent in Scotland and 4.6 per cent in Northern Ireland.
The breakdown within England saw the largest rises in the East Anglia area (up 10.2 per cent), followed by the South East and London (both up 9.8 per cent).
Excluding London and the South East, UK house prices increased by 5.8 per cent in the 12 months to November 2015.
Estate agents have reacted broadly enthusiastically to the latest index. “London is the dynamo of the entire housing market – and the capital is rapidly gathering energy. But even as the allure of the capital strengthens, price rises are revealing an inner turmoil between demand and supply. Escalating prices are a sign of success – but are not being countered by more supply from new homes” says Andrew Bridges, managing director of Stirling Ackroyd. “House price growth is accelerating, with the general thawing in the market continuing. Given the announcement at the end of last year about higher stamp duty from April … there is a sense that people are having a push before sentiment changes” says Guy Meacock, director of Prime Purchase, the buying agency arm of Savills. “Worryingly, the most recent ONS construction output data showed that total housing output fell 1.6 per cent in the year to October. The government needs to implement policies to reverse this damaging trend” says Paul Smith, chief executive of Haart.
In its separate index of city house prices, Hometrack says annual urban house price growth is now running at 11.4 per cent annually, up from 10.2 per cent the previous month and 8.9 per cent 12 months ago.
This represents the highest rate of growth for 15 months as demand increases in the face of constrained supply not least from property investors who accounted for one in five of all buyers in 2015, Hometrack says.
Neil Newstead, FARLA MNAEA
CEO – Oakfield