Strongest Start To The Year For UK House Prices Since 2005

House prices in the UK have had their strongest start to the year since 2005, according to the latest data from Nationwide.

The Guardian reports that Nationwide’s house price index has suggested that selling prices increased by 0.8 per cent in January, meaning that average prices are now 11.2 per cent higher than January 2021. The increase has beaten forecasts of a 10.9 per cent increase.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide‘s chief economist, said it was ‘the strongest pace since June last year and the best start to the year for 17 years.’

The average house price now stands at £255,556, up from £254,822 in December.

Gardner said that housing demand has been robust, and mortgage approvals for house purchases have continues to run at slightly higher than pre-pandemic levels, which he said was despite the surge in market activity in 2021 due to the steam duty holiday.

“Indeed, the total number of property transactions in 2021 was the highest since 2007 and around 25 per cent higher than in 2019, before the pandemic struck,” he said.

“At the same time, the stock of homes on estate agents’ books has remained extremely low, which is contributing to the continued robust pace of house price growth.”

The figures demonstrate defiance of the predictions that the housing market would start to cool in 2022, and Gardner said that Nationwide was still expecting house price growth to slow as the Bank of England continues to raise interest rates.

Gardner said: “This will further reduce housing affordability if it feeds through to higher mortgage rates, although to date a significant proportion of the rise in longer-term interest rates seen in recent months has been absorbed by lenders.”

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