Recent figures show that house price growth and mortgage lending stalled in April. However, overall prices remain up on the year in a market that is growing in confidence.
According to the House Price Index report from the Office for National Statistics, average house prices rose by 5.5 per cent in April when compared to the same month last year, a deceleration from March`s increase of 9.6 per cent.
Official figures showed that average house prices in the UK hit £273,000 in March this year, an increase of £36,000 from average prices seen in January 2013.
Meanwhile, data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) showed a decline of ten per cent in monthly house purchase lending in April when compared with last year. Figures in its report also showed a drop in lending to first time buyers in April, as gross lending fell to £15.8 billion from £16.8 billion in the same month last year.
Despite the recent blip in the property market, upcoming statistics are likely to be more positive, according to early reports.
Following the general election, research from Knight Frank showed that households in all UK regions believed that property prices rose in May. Grainne Gilmore, head of UK residential research at Knight Frank, said that `activity is certainly picking up` in the housing market, citing boosts seen from the certainty of having a majority government. `Demand is rising`, she added.
CML director general Paul Smee was also optimistic about the housing market, saying that `we expect activity to continue building as the year progresses`, boosted on the back of a recovering economy, increases in employment, higher earnings and competitive mortgage rates.
Meanwhile, rental prices are also surging in the year to May, with regions in the south west seeing double digit growth.
According to data from HomeLet, prices across all 12 regions of the UK saw annual and monthly increases, with the strongest yearly growth of 13.6 per cent seen in the south west. The weakest was seen in Wales, where prices increased by 0.4 per cent.
However, in value terms, prices were highest in London where average rental price in the three months to May stood at £1,472, more than £500 higher than average rent in the south east, the next most expensive.
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