The average price of a home climbed to £257,951 in February – a new record high according to the latest LSL England & Wales House Price Index.
The total number of monthly sales reached 66,000 – the highest February total since 2008. House sales in January and February are now only 12% below the average in the decade before the credit crunch.
David Newnes, director of Reeds Rains and Your Move estate agents, owned by LSL Property Services plc, comments:
“The UK housing market is firing forward on all cylinders. House prices are up £2,500 in the space of just one month, marking the biggest rise since May 2012 – twenty one months ago. While annually prices have risen 6% in February, once again taking the price up for the average home to a new record height. 2013 may have been the year when the market got back on its feet, but it seems to be this year when we’ll see it gallop onwards towards full health.
“For so long the housing market had to duck for cover from the fierce economic storm, but with the economy firmly on the mend and the jobs market picking up, this is hopefully well and truly resigned to the past. As we head into the typically busier spring period we are seeing a further strengthening of buyer demand which, combined with a thumping start to the year from the mortgage market, has bolstered confidence across the board.
“Total sales in both January and February are up 49% on the same months in 2013, while the February total in particular was the highest since 2008. Both astounding indicators of how far we’ve come in the space of a year. Aspiring buyers are avidly queuing up to take up government’s Help to Buy scheme, with first time buyers especially benefitting from the wider range of mortgage loans now available.
“Even with nationwide improvement that kicked into gear at the end of 2013, and progresses into 2014, the recovery continues to be fuelled by the remarkable performance of London. The market in the capital continues to steam ahead at an astronomic pace with price growth double that of any other region. As with much of the country the crux of issue that continues to push prices higher is the shortage of supply. With buyers’ appetite for bricks and mortar undiminished, unless we see a sudden wave of properties hitting the market this will become a recurring problem both in London and elsewhere.
“It’s crucial that the Chancellor takes a blunt approach to challenging this supply issue in this month’s Budget, rather than take steps to notch up property taxes which could disrupt progress just as the property market is racing ahead on the right track.”
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