Figures out today record the average British property now standing at £167,192. The UK’s largest building society attributed the rise to affordable mortgage rates, combined with a general improvement in economic conditions.
Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said:
“It’s not just prices – a number of measures of housing market activity have also started to move higher. In the first four months of 2013 the number of property transactions was running at around 5% above the monthly average prevailing in 2012. The number of mortgage approvals for house purchase in the first quarter of 2013 was also around 4% above last year’s monthly average.
“A number of factors are likely to be contributing to the pick up in activity. There has been an improvement in the availability and a reduction in the cost of credit, partly as a result of policy measures, such as the Funding for Lending Scheme. Indeed, mortgage rates have fallen back towards all time lows in recent months.
“With the UK returning to growth in the first quarter of 2013, the improvement in wider economic conditions may also be playing a role in boosting sentiment.”
Karelia Scott-Daniels, managing director of buying agents, Manse & Garret Property Search, commented:
“Yet more good news for the property market, which has been coming thick and fast this year.
“This latest data from the Nationwide adds to the increasingly rosy picture that is emerging of a recovering property market. “With average prices now 1.1% up on this time last year, progress has moved from reluctant to resolute.
“Much of the momentum is coming from London and South East England, and there is a danger that this is masking the stagnation in some other regions.
“But for properties that are priced correctly, there is no shortage of buyers. Properties that might have languished on the market a year or two ago, if priced correctly, are now selling far more quickly.
“The increased availability and lower rates within the mortgage market are clearly contributing to the rise in transaction levels.
“With interest rates now near all-time lows, pent-up demand is being released as would-be buyers who had been sitting on their hands decide that now is the time to take the plunge.”