UK house prices increase at the fastest rate since 2004

UK house prices in April rose at the fastest rate in 17 years. According to Nationwide annual house price growth went from 5.7% in March to 7.1% in April. This sees house prices jump 2.1% month-on-month, resulting in the biggest monthly increase since 2004.

Why have house prices increased so much?

Just as we saw a slowdown in house price increases in March with the anticipation of the stamp duty holiday ending, the announcement of an extension has inevitably prompted a reacceleration. The stamp duty holiday extension has encouraged buyers to take advantage of the potential to save up to £15,000 and could have therefore contributed to this housing price increase.

Although the stamp duty holiday extension is mostly being blamed for the increase, research suggests that other factors may also be having an impact. Nationwide’s research suggested that at the end of April, three quarters of homeowners surveyed that were either moving or considering moving home would have still done so without the stamp duty holiday extension.

Nationwide’s Chief Economist, Robert Gardner explains that although the stamp duty holiday is having some effect on the timing of housing transactions, for most people it is not the main motivating factor.

The low costs of borrowing and changing housing preferences during the pandemic are also likely to be contributing factors to this trend.  The market is also being boosted by the re-introduction of 95% mortgages encouraging first time buyers onto the property ladder.

What does this mean for the future?

The future outlook for the market is quite uncertain at the moment. There is the chance that unemployment could rise sharply towards the end of the year which could mean a slowing in activity. However the shift in housing preferences could also mean that the activity within the market continues.

This change in housing preferences has seen people reconsidering urban locations such as London and take a look at moving to more rural areas where property prices tend to be cheaper and property sizes are bigger. The shift has come as the pandemic has likely caused a change to priorities when purchasing a property with outside space and generous property size being more important now than location within a city, especially with the sudden increase in people working from home they no longer have to worry about a daily commute as much.

How much is my property worth?

Although it is useful to have an understanding on the current market trends for the UK it is important to know what is happening within your local area before you plan to buy or sell a property. House prices can vary street by street so it is important to research thoroughly and ensure you utilise reliable sources. Some useful sources include:

Property websites: Websites such as Rightmove or Zoopla have features that can provide you with an estimate of your house value based on the sales history and other local property sale prices.

Land registry data: It is possible to find out the sold prices for other properties in your local area and when these properties were sold. This can give a good indication to the prices that properties are actually selling for and not what the asking prices are.

Please note these sources should only be used as a guide. To find out the most accurate value estimate of your property it is best to contact estate agents who will be able to undertake a valuation of your property.

 

Your property may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.