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London price hike heightens bubble fears

Ryan Fowler

April 2, 2014

Properties in the capital now command 20% more than in 2007, coming to £362,699 on average.

Wales was the weakest performing region, with prices climbing by 5.2% from Q1 2013.

Rory Penn, partner of London estate agency VanHan, says: “Nationwide’s latest data will not completely comfort those worried about a house-price bubble as prices rose for the 15th consecutive month.”

“London again led the surge, with the average property costing twice as much as elsewhere in the UK.

“This is causing more Londoners to stay put rather than make the natural progression out to the countryside, fearful that they will ever afford to buy in London again, and further contributing to the shortage of stock for sale in the capital.”

Despite all UK regions seeing an annual price rise in Q1 2014, most remain below peak 2007 levels, yet as Penn highlighted; the gap has narrowed to around 3%.

The price of the average house rose by 2.6% alone to £178,124 in Q1, while they increased by 9.2% compared to the same quarter of 2013.

Alex Gosling, managing director, of online estate agents Housesimple.co.uk, was also concerned about rising costs in the capital.

He added: “Nationwide say house price growth shows “tentative signs of moderation” – tell that to the thousands of Londoners priced out of the market.

“The influx of wealthy overseas buyers continues to drive up house prices. And whereas they helped prop up the market after the financial crash, they’re now a hindrance to hard working Londoners on average salaries.

Northern Ireland properties were up 5.4% year-on-year while Scotland saw a 7.6% annual increase.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said: “Amongst the English regions, the South continued to outperform the North.

“Outside of London, the Outer Metropolitan area was again the strongest performing region, with annual price growth of 10.6%, whilst the North continued to be the weakest English region, with prices up 5.9% over the year.”


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