House prices rise to record levels

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HOUSE prices in Yorkshire have risen to record levels with new figures showing there has now been a six fold increase in the space of a generation.

The average house price in Yorkshire is now £173,000 - up six per cent on last year while nationally there has been a ten per cent surge.

Figures dating back to 1986 show that in the mid eighties the average house price in Yorkshire was just £26,000 and first time buyers could get onto the property ladder in the region for £19,000.

The latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows property values in London have continued to increase around twice as quickly as those across the UK, with the capital seeing a 19.3 per cent jump in prices in the 12 months to June, according to the figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The average house price in London is now just shy of half a million pounds, at £499,000, and the ONS said that “house prices are increasing strongly across most parts of the UK”.

The report also reveals that a typical first-time buyer faces paying 12.0 per cent more for their starter home than they did a year ago, which the ONS said is the highest annual increase seen for this sector since April 2010.

In June, which is the most recent month for which the figures are available, the average price paid for a house by a first-time buyer was £204,000.

On a month-on-month basis, house prices in general increased across the UK by 0.5 per cent between May and June.

London and the South East are continuing to record the strongest annual price uplifts, and the ONS said that if these regions were taken out of the figures, UK house prices would have increased at a slower pace of 6.3 per cent in the 12 months to June and they would stand at £201,000 on average. However, all regions have seen house price growth over the last year.

A council leader in Yorkshire has warned that while the figures might be seen as welcome sign of economic recovery they will also mean that parts of the region are more out of reach than ever for first time buyers.

Richmondshire District Council leader Coun John Blackie said; “Rising house prices will be seen as good news in some parts of the region and can be seen as a postive as long as salaries are increasing in line with them. But it depends on what level these prices were increasing from. In the upper Dales, across the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the North York Moors National Park house prices are already far beyond the income of many of the local residents who want to be able to remain there. This will spell doom and gloom for these communities in a generation’s time.” Richmondshire District Council is spearheading a 12-month drive to provide more affordable housing and job opportunities across the Yorkshire Dales.

Campbell Robb, chief executive for housing charity Shelter, said: “The house price hike is yet another blow for people across the country desperate to put down roots and create a stable home. No matter how hard people work or save, millions are being priced out of a home of their own, caught in the ‘rent trap’ and constantly moving from one expensive property to the next.”

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “This Government is committed to delivering long-term economic stability and economic growth.”

He continued: “House building is now at its highest level since 2007 and continuing to grow, and 200,000 new affordable homes have been delivered across England since 2010.

“By tackling the deficit left by the last administration, we are helping keep down both interest rates and the number of repossessions.”

The North East remains the English region with the lowest average house prices, at around £150,000. However, prices in the North East have lifted by 4.4 per cent annually.

Wales has seen the smallest annual price growth out of all the UK nations and regions, with a 3.5 per cent year-on-year increase taking average prices there to £167,000.

In Scotland, property values have grown by six per cent annually, pushing the average house price there to £193,000. Northern Ireland, which saw some sharp falls in property values in the financial crisis, has seen prices lift by 4.9 per cent over the last year, taking them to £137,000 typically.

Property values in England have risen at a faster rate than the UK average, with a 10.7 per cent increase to £276,000.

England remains the only UK country where property prices are higher than their pre-financial crisis peak, now standing at 10 per cent above their previous high seen in 2008. Prices in Northern Ireland are around 47 per cent below their previous peak, while those in Wales are sitting around three per cent below their previous peak levels.