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UK home prices rise 1.3 per cent in March as regions outpace London

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 March, 2016, 3:01pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 May, 2016, 3:28pm

British home prices rose 1.3 per cent in March, pushing the average above £300,000 (HK$3.36 million) for the first time, according to Rightmove.

Average asking prices increased 7.6 per cent compared with a year earlier, the property-website operator said on Monday. That takes the increase over the past 10 years to 50 per cent, more than twice the pace of earnings growth, according to Rightmove.

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has pledged to make more land available for homebuilding amid a shortage of properties that’s fueling rampant price gains. He’s also trying to help first-time buyers, and last week introduced a savings product that can be used toward a down payment for a property costing £450,000 or less.

Gains were spread across the country in March, with asking prices in southwest England, the northeast and the West Midlands increasing by about 2.5 per cent on the month.

In the UK capital, prices stagnated, with prices in inner London – including wealthy areas such as Kensington – falling 1.7 per cent to £833,225 on average. Outer districts rose 2.1 per cent to £517,201 as house-hunters sought more affordable property.

Rightmove said there’s been a “surge” in the number of properties coming to market as well as “diminished appetite among buyers to pay higher prices.” The average asking price in London was £644,045, up 11 per cent from a year earlier.

“London is a myriad of different local markets,” said Miles Shipside, director at Rightmove. There is “stagnation and readjustment in many boroughs that are now a shadow of the former price-rise powerhouse of the last few years”.