Average house prices in England and Wales increased 1.7% last month compared with June to reach £175,653, according to the latest official data from the Land Registry.
Annual price growth was 7.2% in July and it means that prices are less than £10,000 below the peak of £181,442 in November 2007.
The region in England and Wales which experienced the greatest increase in its average property value over the last 12 months was London with a rise of 19.3% and London also experienced the greatest monthly rise of 3.3%.
The North East saw the lowest annual price growth with at 2% while Yorkshire and The Humber saw the most significant monthly price fall of 0.6%.
The most up to date figures available show that during May 2014 the number of completed house sales in England and Wales increased by 10% to 72,900 compared with 66,325 in May 2013.
The data also shows that the number of properties sold in England and Wales for over £1 million in May 2014 increased by 32% to 1,032 from 779 in May 2013.
According to David Newnes, director of Reeds Rains and Your Move estate agents, owned by LSL Property Services, price growth has stabilised as more housing stock becomes available and also in the wake of tighter lending regulation introduced earlier in the year.
‘There is still a lot of ground to make up in the volume of sales happening, House prices have stabilised in many regions and have still not matched the heights reached before the crisis. London may routinely grab the headlines, but Help to Buy and higher available LTV lending are indispensable in parts of the country where recovery remains subdued,’ he pointed out.
Peter Rollings, chief executive of Marsh & Parsons, believes that the starkly different figures for London should not cause concern. ‘London has always been an anomaly, a few steps ahead of the curve, and while the London market is now stabilising following a whirlwind few months of growth, parts of the UK are still waiting for the housing market recovery to ramp up,’ he said.
He also pointed out that after months of talks of a housing shortage, particularly in London, supply levels are making a comeback. ‘In the current calmer climate, sellers are emboldened to take their next step up the ladder and put their homes on the market, which is refreshing the choice available to buyers and relaxing the competition. This will spur on sales, but also ease house price rises to healthy and attainable levels, sustaining steady upwards growth for the remainder of the year,’ he added.
Duncan Kreeger, director of lender West One Loans, pointed out that prices are rising fastest where there are jobs and the economic recovery is taking hold most strongly. ‘The urgent next step will be for supply to catch up. Everyone knows we need to get more homes onto the market, but the real squeeze is even sharper in Britain’s centres of…