ONS figures reveal rising property prices

 
ONS figures reveal rising property prices [Photo: apomares via iStock]

Property prices in the UK have risen once again, according to the most recent House Price Index from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which reveals an 8.4 per cent increase in the year to August 2016.

This also represents an upswing from the previous month, when prices had risen 8 per cent in the year to July 2016.

Believed to be largely driven by average house price rises in England, these increases demonstrate the continued robust growth of prices since 2013. However, they also indicate that there remains something of a north-south divide when it comes to property values across the UK.

House prices in England saw the most significant upward trend. Overall, prices in nation rose 9.2 per cent in the year to August, compared to just 2.7 per cent in Wales and 4.3 per cent in Scotland. The average house price in England now sits at £236,000, compared to the UK average of £218,964.

While England exhibited the highest price increase overall, it's worth noting that there was significant variation across the country. As expected, London continues to lead the way with the highest average price of £489,000. Taking the spots for second and third highest prices are the south-east and east of England, which have respective average prices of £318,000 and £277,000. This drops significantly moving northward, however, with the north-east demonstrating England's lowest levels at £127,000.

The report also reveals that sales are down across the country - and, in fact, more significantly in England than in other regions. Between June 2015 and June 2016, sales dropped by 32.2 per cent in England, 27.1 per cent in Wales, and 21.6 per cent and 7.4 per cent in Northern Ireland and Scotland respectively.

"In terms of housing demand, the volume of lending approvals for house purchases fell slightly in August compared to July, remaining at levels seen in early 2015. Home sales in the UK stayed stable between July and August but remain below levels seen in 2014, 2015 and before the stamp duty changes in early 2016," the index states.

It appears that this dip in housing demand is not universal, however. According to recent figures published by the Council of Mortgage Lenders, the number of first-time buyers securing a mortgage rose by 19 per cent in August this year, compared with the same month in 2015. This suggests that rising prices are not putting this segment of the market off from taking their first step onto the property ladder by rising prices.