Average house prices climb £1,200 in April - setting new record
- Average prices now at £263,113 peak – £54,000 above recession low point in April 2009
- House sales up 40% year-on-year, with 72,000 transactions in April
- Sales activity fuelled by increases in first-time buyers and buy-to-let landlords
- East Anglia joins ranks of London and South East with prices exceeding pre-recession highs
David Newnes, director of Reeds Rains and Your Move estate agents, owned by LSL Property Services plc, comments: “Average prices across England and Wales have risen £1,200 during April, setting a new record. Prices have now climbed over £54,000 (26%) above the recession rock-bottom of April 2009, when the nation was gripped in the gloomy depths of the financial crisis.
“As the floods and bad weather at the start of the year become a distant memory, sales in April have returned to more normal levels. Total house sales stand 40% higher than at the same point last year, totalling 72,000 in April. Activity is largely being fuelled by increasing numbers of purchases by first-time buyers and buy-to-let landlords, as consumer confidence sweeps the country. Low inflation and healthy wage growth are energizing household finances, and infusing aspiring buyers with greater optimism.
“Considering the regional picture, while London may be forging the way with 13.2% annual house price growth, the rest of the country is definitely following the trail. Growth is emanating out from the capital, and prices and activity are progressing steadily across all regions. There are success stories from Reeds Rains branches all across England and Wales – with Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Nottingham all witnessing house price inflation above the national average. East Anglia has become the third region following London and the South East where house prices have reached record highs, and have exceeded their pre-recession peak. In a key indicator of the vigour of the recovery, over the last twelve months prices have risen in 89% of the unitary authorities across the country.
“But supply levels need to keep pace, thus allowing the wheels of the housing market to continue turning. Constrained supply in the capital has already moderated total London sales over the past twelve months. Demand shows no sign of slowing: more house building is imperative to keep the momentum going, and to ensure that price rises are sustainable, in particular for first-time buyers – who remain the key ingredient at the lower end of the market, oiling the cogs of growth.
“With the more stringent Mortgage Market Review (MMR) lending conditions now in place, and tighter regulation and stress tests on banks, the borrowing process is slowing, but this isn’t a setback for the market so long as the government encourages a healthy flow of available housing stock.”