The average UK house price stood at £226,918 in November – up 0.2 per cent on October and representing the second consecutive monthly increase.
LSL Property Services commercial director David Brown says: “Overall, 2012 has been a tale of two halves for house prices. The first half of the year saw the strongest price growth, while the market has been more or less treading water over the course of the last five months. Nevertheless, despite steady annual growth, prices in England & Wales are still 2.1 per cent below their 2008 peak.
“However, the impact of heightened demand at the top of the housing market has accentuated gaps on a regional level. For instance, the ripple-out effect from cash and foreign investment in the centre of London has driven prices in 22 boroughs to new peaks in 2012. In contrast, prices in areas like Darlington are still down 8.5 per cent on a year ago. Until we see a real thrust from the lower tier of the market, this disparity will continue.”
Transactions in November were 5 per cent higher than for the same time last year. Acadametrics housing market specialist and chairman Peter Williams says it is too early to speculate on why November sales are higher but offers some early estimates.
The forecast is that November and October will both have experienced similar levels of transactions of around 64,000 each.s
He says: “The first possible reason is that the Funding for Lending Scheme is having a positive effect. Thirty financial institutions have signed up to the scheme and we have seen mortgage rates become more competitive over the last month. This will have boosted housing demand.”
Williams also credits increased activity in the buy-to-let sector as aspiring landlords respond to reports of heightened demand for private rented accommodation.