As house prices rocketed 6.5% in the last year, property experts have warned of a growing crisis for potential homebuyers.

The average house now costs £222,484, reckons the Halifax, with prices jumping 1.7% between November and December. That’s much faster growth than expected, with economists anticipating a climb of just 0.3%.

Rising prices and a lack of affordable properties are leaving a generation of homebuyers’ dreams in tatters, warned Shelter. Graeme Brown, interim chief executive, said: “Our current system of housebuilding simply cannot deliver the homes we need. People are paying the price with expensive and unstable renting.”

House price rises

That view was backed up by new figures from Landbay which showed the average rent outside London hit £750 in December.

It means rental payments now account for more than half of the average take-home pay for people living outside the capital.

“To provide more people with access to affordable homes, the UK must build more houses to ease competition for properties and keep house price inflation under control,” said Andrew McPhillips, chief economist at Yorkshire Building Society.

He called for new measures to help reduce the cost of buying a home, such as by making stamp duty a seller’s tax rather than a buyer’s tax.