House prices climb steadily through 2012

Ben Southwood
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HOUSE prices chugged upwards steadily during last year, according to official statistics out yesterday.

The average UK home was worth 3.3 per cent more at the end of 2012 than at end of 2011, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in its house price index, up from the 2.2 per cent annual growth seen in November.

As has been typical since the recession, the expansion was driven by a buoyant London market, where prices grew some 6.4 per cent over the year. But the rest of the UK was moving in the same direction – albeit more slowly – with 1.9 per cent annual growth according to the ONS’s numbers.

And separate data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders confirmed this upbeat picture of the UK’s market for houses.

Mortgage loans to first-time buyers rocketed up 12 per cent between 2011 and 2012 to reach 216,000 – the highest annual total since 2007. Overall, home loans were up 6.2 per cent on the year, bringing them to reach 540,200.