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FEBRUARY 18, 2015 | BY A & S Property

UK house prices rise 9.8% annually, says latest ONS Index

UK house prices increased by 9.8% between January and December 2014, according to the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) latest House Price Index published yesterday. 


The new figures represent a slight decrease on those from the previous month, which showed house price growth of 9.9% between January and November. 


House price inflation in England was the highest at 10.2%, followed by Scotland (5.5%), Northern Ireland (4.9%) and Wales (4.0%).  


Increases in England were led by a rise of 13.3% in the capital followed by the south east up (11.5%) and East Anglia (11.4%). Excluding London and the south east, UK house prices increased by 7.4% last year. 


The ONS reports that the average house price in the UK now stands at £272,000. Average prices remain varied in different locations across the country, however. For example, the average price in the capital is now over £500,000, while in the North East the average price – the lowest in England – stands at £153,000. 


Commenting on the latest figures, Brian Murphy, Head of Lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau, said: “The slower pace of house price growth towards the end of 2014 meant typical house prices in December were unchanged from July at £272,000. This is in sharp contrast to the rapid increases seen this time last year. Annual gains of 10 per cent are still high, but the signs are that the housing market is beginning to move towards a more stable trajectory. 


He added that crucially house price gains have left the door open to first-time buyers, something that is reflected in statistics showing that more loans were made to new homeowners in 2014 than in any other year since the recession. 


Andy Knee, chief executive of conveyancing firm LMS, says London is still acting as the categorical driving force of house prices in the UK.


“Overall, the latest figures present a mixed-picture for the market with good levels of activity but still a number of challenges to overcome to ensure that it keeps moving forward. It awaits to be seen what approaches and policies are considered in the lead up to the election, for which housing will be a key battleground. May is likely to highlight a time of uncertainty for the property market but it is not unrealistic to retain optimism for the year ahead,” he said.  


Other house prices indices released this week by Rightmove and haart estate agents show a slightly different picture. Property website Rightmove says that average asking prices have risen by £5,000 per property over the last month, while haart says that prices in the capital have flat lined for the first time since the financial crisis. However, the agency chain is predicting another price hike in the capital during the spring.