Another day, another index, another record - house prices rose 5.4 per cent annually in October according to official figures from the Office for National Statistics.
The ONS index, calculated from Land Registry data, says this is the highest annual growth rate the UK has seen since 2016.
It’s up from a 4.3 per cent annual figure in September and shows no immediate sign of slowing significantly.
The ONS says average house prices in England are now £262,000 (up 5.4 per cent annually); in Wales £176,000 (up 5.8 per cent annually), in Scotland £163,000 (up 6.0 per cent) and Northern Ireland £143,000 (up just 2.4 per cent).
The East Midlands, North West and Yorkshire and the Humber experienced the joint highest annual growth in prices, up an average 6.6 per cent.
“The rising price inflation in the property market during October is in stark contrast to the sharp fall in prices on the high street during November, as the economic impact of the pandemic really started to bite” according to David Westgate, group chief executive at Andrews Property Group.
“For now, house prices are being driven upwards by the stamp duty holiday but rising unemployment and the small matter of a potentially messy No-Deal Brexit will almost certainly see average values cool off during 2021. Rising redundancies and reduced mortgage availability at higher loan to values will invariably hit demand but the feel-good factor generated by a working vaccine, coupled with the continued lack of supply, could prevent the steep drop in prices some are expecting” he continues.
Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, adds: “These most comprehensive of all the housing market figures confirm what others have been saying, not least because they are a little dated, reflecting activity from a few months ago. At that time, prices were rising quite strongly but beginning to slow in response to fears over further lockdown restrictions, which proved accurate. Since then, new buyer enquiries have fallen but the determination to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday has not.
“Looking forward, there does not seem to be any sign of a huge correction although inevitably disappointing economic news is bound to have some bearing as 2021 develops.”