In another positive sign for the housing market, every region of the UK has seen a price rise according to the official government house price index.
It’s the first time this has happened since February 2018.
The index, emerging from the Office for National Statistics, says that average house prices across the UK as a whole rose 2.2 per cent over the year to December 2019, up from an annual rate of 1.7 per cent in November.
The average UK house price was £235,000 in December 2019; this is £5,000 higher than in December 2018.
Although the data is now a little aged, it’s been welcomed by agents and analysts.
Grainne Gilmore, newly-appointed head of research at Zoopla, says: “Zoopla data shows an increase in buyer demand since late last year, a trend that is set to continue amid real wage growth and low interest rates. However, in some areas there is still a shortage of homes coming to market to meet this demand.”
And Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, adds: “It shows that prices were increasing steadily in November and December at a time of considerable political uncertainty as demand was building and supply was finding it difficult to keep up. Buyers were taking advantage of improved affordability, thanks to improving real wages and near record low mortgage rates. Since then, sellers are slowly coming out of hibernation but not in sufficient numbers yet to keep prices in check and make property more affordable.”
Meanwhile Nick Leeming, chairman of Jackson-Stops, says the figures are particularly notable because December is traditionally quiet because of Christmas. “With limited stock on the market however, we’re seeing more prospective buyers vying for the same property compared to this time last year so it’s not surprising to see this price uplift” he adds.
Sam Mitchell, chief executive of online agency Housesimple, comments: “Ultimately, an imbalance between supply of properties and demand from buyers is what contributes the most to house price growth. More buyers to the market increases demand so, unless the government introduces any real investment into home building initiatives in the upcoming Spring Budget, house price growth is here to stay.”