UK house prices jump by almost 10% in last 12 months

Tuesday 17 June 2014 10.22
London house prices up nearly 19% over the last 12 months - ONS
London house prices up nearly 19% over the last 12 months - ONS

UK house prices have leapt by 9.9% over the last year to reach a new high of £260,000 typically in April, official figures show.

The annual increase marks the strongest uplift seen in nearly four years and prices are "increasing strongly across most parts of the UK", an Office for National Statistics (ONS) report said.

London is continuing to record the strongest growth, with values there having surged by 18.7% over the last 12 months to reach £485,000 on average.

On a month-on-month basis, values jumped by 2% across the UK, compared with an increase of 0.2% in average prices during the same period a year earlier.

The figures also show that first-time buyers face having to pay 10.7% more to get on the property ladder than they did a year ago, with the typical starter home now costing £199,000. 

The figures add to a slew of reports which point to house prices continuing on a strong upward march, despite some evidence that potential buyers are starting to behave more cautiously amid concerns that parts of the market are overheating. 

They will add to speculation that further steps could be recommended by the Bank of England to calm the market, which could possibly include diluting the UK government's flagship Help to Buy scheme to help buyers with low deposits. 

Critics of the scheme have argued it has been adding to the pressure on demand for homes and helping to fuel sellers' price expectations as consumers' confidence in the economy improves generally. 

But the government has said the scheme is working as intended to reach people who need its help the most. 

The bank's financial policy committee was meeting today, although a report from that meeting is not due to be released until later this month. 

Last week, Chancellor George Osborne unveiled plans to hand the Bank of England powerful new tools which would enable it to cap the size of mortgage loans as a share of the borrower's income or the value of the house. 

Mr Osborne emphasised that the market does not pose an immediate threat to financial stability now, but he also said it is important to take action to insure against any repeat of a period of boom and bust. 

The Bank of England has dropped hints that interest rates could rise sooner than expected, which would add to the costs of mortgage holders - although any increase is expected to be gradual.