London house prices remain highest at £496,000 but annual growth is lowest
UK average increases by 8.6% in a year as sales hit record high in March
London remains the most expensive region to live in the UK with house prices at an average of £496,269 in February 2021, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The latest ONS index revealed that while property prices in the capital are the highest, it was also the English region which had the lowest annual growth. Average prices increased by 4.6% over the year to February 2021, down from 5.7% in January 2021.
After prices dropped in February, down from £503,308 in January, the capital’s property market “pandemic mini-boom” appears to be running out of steam, the London Evening Standard says.
“While the market isn’t running as hot as other UK regions at present, this should work in the favour of the London market in the long run,” said Marc von Grundherr, director of estate agents Benham and Reeves. “A far more steady return to form is likely to be made and this will ensure that any crash landing as a result of the stamp duty holiday ending is going to be minimised within the capital.”
In the spring budget, the stamp duty holiday was extended to the end of September. The property purchase tax has been suspended on the first £500,000 of all sales in England and Northern Ireland since July last year and was due to end on 31 March. But the tax break will now continue until the end of June, with the nil-rate band then reset to £250,000 until September, before returning to the usual level of £125,000 from the start of October.
UK prices soar with average at £250,000
The average house price in the UK was £250,341 in February 2021 - £20,000 higher than in February last year, ONS said. House prices in the UK increased by 8.6% over the year to February 2021, up from 8% in January 2021. This is the highest annual growth rate the UK has seen since October 2014.
Average house prices increased over the year in England to £268,000 (8.7%), in Wales to £180,000 (8.4%), in Scotland to £162,000 (8%) and in Northern Ireland to £148,000 (5.3%).
While London saw the lowest annual growth in average house prices (4.6%), the North West was the English region with the highest annual growth (11.9%).
Record sales in March
Buyers and sellers attempting to complete deals before the end of the stamp duty holiday contributed to a record number of homes being sold across the UK in March, The Guardian reports.
According to official figures from HMRC around 180,690 transactions were recorded during the month - double the total in March 2020.