House prices defy seasonal slowdown with 7.2% December rise
Whereas traditionally the last month of the year would see a fall in activity as buyers focus on the festivities, today’s statistics confirm that demand held strong in December.
Average house prices in the UK increased by 7.2% in the year to December 2016, up from 6.1% in the year to November 2016, according to the UK House Price Index from the ONS and Land Registry.
Its data shows that the average UK house price was £220,000 in December - £15,000 higher than in December 2015 and £3,000 higher than the previous month.
The main contribution to the increase in UK house prices came from England, where house prices increased by 7.7% over the year to December 2016, with the average price in England now £236,000. Wales saw house prices increase by 4.7% over the last 12 months to stand at £148,000. In Scotland, the average price increased by 3.5% over the year to stand at £142,000. The average price in Northern Ireland currently stands at £125,000, an increase of 5.7% over the last 12 months.
The East of England remains the region with the highest annual growth, with prices increasing by 11.3% in the year to December 2016. Growth in the South East was second highest at 8.5%, followed by London at 7.5%. The lowest annual growth was in the North East, where prices increased by 4.1% over the year.
Jeremy Duncombe, Director, Legal & General Mortgage Club, commented: “The continuing rise in house prices these figures highlight defines the current crisis in the housing market. Whereas traditionally the last month of the year would see a fall in activity as buyers focus on the festivities, today’s statistics confirm that demand held strong in December. With mortgage providers continuing to keep rates low, this is a trend that will likely continue in 2017, particularly as the Government’s measures on housing will take time to affect the market.
“With last week’s White Paper, the Government has clearly recognised the supply-demand problem and the impact that it is having on both prospective homeowners and renters too. The sooner that recognition and the promises made to build more homes can be turned into action, the sooner we can really address the housing crisis and create a fairer market in which property prices rise in line with wages.”