Mortgages 

Property prices only £2k less than 2007 peak

Property prices only £2k less than 2007 peak

Average property prices in England and Wales cost £179,492 in January, just £2,000 away from the peak of the market in November 2007, data from the latest Land Registry house price index revealed.

In November 2007, the average property price in England and Wales was £181,101. The latest figure, which increased 1.3 per cent on the previous month and 6.7 per cent year-on-year, is just £1,609 off this.

London experienced the highest annual increase in property value, with a movement of 12 per cent, while the north-east saw the lowest annual price growth of 0.1 per cent.

The number of property transactions also increased over the last year. From August 2013 to November 2013 there was an average of 77,694 sales per month, while in the same months a year later, the figure was 79,549.

Stephen Smith, director of Legal and General’s Mortgage Club, stated that while homeowners may welcome this increase to their property’s value, the fact is, rapid house price growth is not beneficial in the long term.

“To achieve a healthy and sustainable market, where families are not priced out of certain areas, house prices need to grow at a similar rate to inflation.

“With demand for housing still strong, prices will continue to be pushed up unless we find a lasting solution; put simply we need to build more houses.”

Guy Meacock, head of the London office for buying agency Prime Purchase, pointed out that despite a 0.2 per cent fall in London prices last month, values were still up 12 per cent on the year.

“We expect the stamp duty changes in December to produce a spike in transaction numbers as buyers rushed to beat the deadline for the increase in the tax but this will just be a blip with the downwards trend continuing into this year.”

The figures also showed that the number of properties sold in England and Wales for over £1m in November decreased by 18 per cent to 869 from 1,060 in November 2013, which Mr Meacock said was also as a result of the stamp duty changes.

“However, it is worth remembering that many high-value transactions are not recorded by the Land Registry if they are bought in trust names or corporate entities, so it is not showing the full picture.”

peter.walker@ft.com

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