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Help to Buy keeps UK house prices on the up



Dover Express

HOUSE prices rocketed across the country last year. For the second successive quarter, all 13 United Kingdom regions saw positive annual house price growth in quarter four.

Values surged by 8.4 per cent over 2013 across the UK as the market revival became increasingly broad-based, Nationwide has reported.

Prices rose by 1.4 per cent month on month in December to reach 175,826 on average, although they remain around 5 per cent below all-time highs recorded in late 2007, the building society said.

The annual increase in prices across the country is the biggest jump seen since June 2010. Every region across the UK saw prices increase year on year, ranging from a 14.9 per cent annual increase in London to a 1.9 per cent uplift in the North.

Among the major towns and cities, Manchester was named by the study as the best-performing area for house price rises in 2013, with prices there up by 21 per cent typically over the last year to reach an average of 209,627.

Carlisle was named as the worst performer, with a 1 per cent annual increase in prices taking the average value of a home there to 136,128.

Prices in London are now 14 per cent above their annual peak, with the price of the typical home in the English capital having reached 345,186.

House prices in Northern Ireland are still around half their 2007 levels, although they have climbed by 7.0 per cent year on year to reach 111,612 on average. London has the most expensive house prices in the UK while Northern Ireland has the cheapest, according to Nationwide's figures.

Scotland recorded a 3.7 per cent annual increase in house prices, pushing them to 136,729 typically, while Wales saw prices pick up by 6.1 per cent over the same period, taking the average price there to 139,722.

In England, prices have increased by 8.6 per cent year on year to 205,084 typically.

Prime Minister David Cameron, pictured, dismissed fears that the Government is pumping up a housing bubble as he hailed the success of its flagship Help to Buy scheme. A new phase of Help to Buy was launched in October to offer state-backed mortgages to credit-worthy people struggling to get onto the property ladder or move up it because they only have a small deposit saved up.

In many parts of the country prices were "barely moving at all", he insisted.

More than 6,000 people have put offers in on homes and applied for mortgages using Help to Buy since it was launched about three months ago.

Nearly 750 homeowners have completed their purchases and hundreds were able to spend Christmas in their new homes, according to the Government.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide's chief economist, said the upturn in prices has become "increasingly broad-based over the course of 2013".


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