Date: Tuesday 19 Jun 2012
UK house prices showed the biggest year-on-year gain in April since December 2010, according to government data, though the increase was a far cry from the days when soaring house prices was a popular subject at dinner parties.
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) indicates house prices were, on average, 1.4% higher in April than they were a year earlier, largely driven by rising prices in England.
Prices in England were up 1.7% in April from a year earlier, offsetting falls of 8.1%, 1.1% and 0.3% respectively in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. In March, prices were down 0.4% on a year earlier.
To no one's great surprise the booming London housing market was the most buoyant, with house prices in the capital up 4.9% from a year earlier. The South East and South West also saw notable rises, of 2.1% and 1.6% respectively, contrasting starkly with the situations in the North West and the Yorkshire and Humber regions, both of which registered annual declines of 1.3%.
Prices of newly built houses were 5.1% higher in April than they were a year earlier, while the average price of previously owned dwellings rose by 1.1% over the same period.
First time buyers are still having a hard time of it, with prices for those getting their feet on the first rung of the property ladder rising by 1.5% year-on-year.
The stamp duty holiday for first time buyers ended on March 25th and this led to a decline in the percentage of house purchases being made by this element of the house-buying constituency. In March, 43% of house sales were to first timers while in April this fell to 32%, in line with the longer term average.
"The decrease in the proportion of first time buyers had a differential impact on average house prices in some regions, where they decreased in March and then increased in April 2012," the ONS said.
The ONS's house price index rose 1.1% on a seasonally adjusted basis in April.
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