London house prices were up 11.2 per cent in the year to March 2015, compared to a nationwide average of 9.6 per cent, according to the ONS house price index published yesterday.
The index found the pace of annual house price growth increased, on average, in all regions of the UK, with house price inflation coming in at 9.4 per cent in England, 5.7 per cent in Wales, 7.5 per cent in Northern Ireland and 14.6 per cent in Scotland, the highest annual increase recorded north of the border since July 2007.
Yet, despite overall robust growth, the ONS said there is still a clear North-South divide in terms of house prices. The average house price in the capital is now £498,000, and homes in the broader south east average £339,000. In the north east and Northern Ireland, however, house prices average £157,000 and £145,000, respectively. The nationwide average is £273,000, according to the ONS.
Meanwhile, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) released its own housing market statistics yesterday, which found a 20 per cent increase in the number of loans advanced to first-time buyers in March of this year, compared with the previous month. Existing homeowners who moved house, or “home movers”, took out 25,000 loans in March, an increase of 14 per cent compared with February according to the CML.
But while the CML found pickup in the mortgage market in March, the organisation said that lending was down for the first quarter. The number of first-time buyers taking out loans in the first quarter of 2015 was down 24 per cent on the fourth quarter of 2014 and 11 per cent on the first quarter of last year. For home movers, the number of loans was down 25 per cent in the first quarter compared with the fourth quarter of 2014, and 11 per cent year-on-year.