Housing market surge spreads through the UK

HOUSE prices rose across the largest proportion of the UK on record this February, shooting up at the fastest pace recorded for a single month, according to Hometrack’s latest assessment of the rapid recovery in the property market.

Last month, 51.1 per cent of postcodes saw price increases, according to the research, released today. Only 0.4 per cent saw a drop in prices, from 5.3 per cent in January. The proportion is the broadest since the firm began its survey in 2004.

The 0.7 per cent rise in average prices since January is also the fastest since 2007, before the impact of the financial crisis. In London, prices rose by 1.1 per cent. It was also the first month in which prices in every region rose since 2007.

The market is currently driven by a huge imbalance between supply and demand, with the gap increasing by 17 per cent over just one month.

The rise in extra properties coming to the market was only 11.2 per cent, not fast enough to keep up with potential buyers.

According to LSL Property Services, who also release market research today, the number of first time buyers rose by a third between the first month of 2013 and January this year, and the average price of a house for a new owner rose to a record high of £155,832. LSL also noted that prices are growing as a share of buyers’ earnings, as real wages continue to lag inflation.