Housing market builds strength as prices swell

TEN TIMES as many postcodes in England and Wales saw house prices rise than fall over June, the largest proportion of the UK to see an increase since September 2007.

Some 31 per cent of households saw the value of property increase through last month, while only 3.1 per cent saw a decline. Across the country, the average property increased by 0.4 per cent in price.

The data, collected by Hometrack, also indicated that there is strong demand, with more asking prices being achieved.

A total of 94.2 per cent of homes put on the market were sold for as much or more than the owners asked.

Once again, London is leading the regional change in prices. The capital saw a 0.9 per cent increase in average prices, while Wales and much of the north of England saw no change.

London properties also spend less than half the time on the market than properties in the rest of the country. In England and Wales, the average time to agree a sale is 8.4 weeks, while in the capital it is as low as 4.1 weeks.

More pressure is coming from new buyers who may have held off over recent years. Since first time buyers have no property to sell, demand is increasing and driving prices upward.

Richard Donnell, director of research at Hometrack, said: “an ongoing shortage of housing for sale remains a key feature of the market”. “Existing occupiers are looking to identify property they want to buy before putting their homes on the market”, he added.

Analysts have suggested that chancellor George Osborne’s help to buy scheme, which offers mortgage guarantees, will inflate prices in the property market.