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House price growth back on track in April, official figures show

National average house price growth bounced back in April after a slow March, according to official figures.

The latest UK House Price Index - compiled by the Land Registry and the Office for National Statistics - shows that average prices increased by 1.6% between March and April.

This comes after a fall of 0.6% the previous month.

What's more, annual growth recovered to 5.6% after dropping to 4.1% in March. Annual growth is now at a similar level to the 5.8% recorded back in February.

The index calculates that the average UK house price during April was £220,094. 

In London, there was a slight monthly gain of 0.7% between March and April. Meanwhile, annual growth in the capital was recorded at 4.2% - with an average property value of £482,779.

The region with the best annual performance in April was the East of England with an average increase of 8.1%.

Yorkshire and the Humber, meanwhile, was the best monthly performer, recording an average house price rise of 3.9% between March and April.

The lowest annual growth was recorded in the North East (0.6%), while the poorest monthly performer was the South East (0.3%).

The Land Registry data shows that the number of transactions increased by 20% in April when compared to the same month last year - April 2016 is when the 3% stamp duty surcharge on additional properties was introduced.

Between March and April this year, there were 3.2% fewer property transactions recorded by the Land Registry.

"These figures will do little to quell concerns in the housing market," comments Katherine Binns, director at the Homeowners Alliance.

"We now find ourselves in yet more uncertainty as a result of the snap election and [subsequent] result and, as such, I imagine we’ll see transaction levels continue to fall."

Binns says, however, that first-time buyers looking to get on the property ladder will aim to do so regardless of the political climate. She believes it is those looking to move up the ladder - particularly in London - who will be holding back over the next few months.

eMoov founder and chief executive Russell Quirk says: "The latest government data seems to portray a healthier market than other industry sources."

"Although the events of the last year, particularly the changing political landscape, do not seem to have had a long-lasting detrimental impact on the UK property market, they have certainly stunted the rate of price growth."

"It is likely that the unpredictable swings in house price growth seen over the last few months will now persist for a while longer,” he says.

Doug Crawford, chief executive of My Home Move, adds: “A strong performance in April’s house price data is testament to the robust nature of the property market, especially in light of the snap election. However, it is important not to be complacent."

His firm is urging the government to focus on delivering the pledges made in the housing white paper and install a new housing minister as soon as possible.

You can see the full UK House Price Index here.

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