House prices peaking across more parts of UK

UK house prices are returning to pre-crisis peaks across most parts of the UK according to the latest official data, driving more people into the rental sector.

Data from the Office for National Statistics for July shows that home prices in the East Midlands, West Midlands and south west of England have all returned to levels seen before the financial crisis in 2008.

It means those regions have joined London, the east of England and the south-east in reaching these highs, making it more difficult to access the housing ladder.

This has boosted demand in the rental sector, with Countrywide reporting that as many as five tenants are battling it out for every available property.

The Index revealed a steady increase in demand during the last 12 months, while rents have also increased as a result, with records reported by several major indexes.

Both the Countrywide Buy to Let Index and the similar index from LSL Property Services suggested rents are at record levels, although there was some disparity between their figures.

Property prices continue to rise

The ONS data showed property prices increased by 11.7 per cent in annual terms across the UK to the end of July, while those in London rose by 19.1 per cent.

Separate data from the ONS showed consumer price index inflation was at 1.5 per cent in August, meaning prices in July rose by at least three times the inflation rate for the whole of the UK.

The overall increase in property prices between June and July was driven by gains in England, especially in the south, with the smallest gains noted in Yorkshire and the Humber as well as Northern Ireland.

Other housing surveys suggested different information to the ONS data, with Halifax reporting a slowdown in prices while Nationwide reported the opposite.

The ONS puts average house prices at more than £500,000 in London, while the UK-wide average is £272,000.

The data represents good news for landlords and buy to let investors as demand for rental properties is set to continue rising.

For more information on house prices and the effects on the Buy to Let market please visit our Complex Buy to Let Index page.

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