London house prices soar by 17.7% in just one year

 

Economics Editor

London house prices shot up by almost double the value of London salaries over the past year, official figures have showed.

The Office for National Statistics said average prices in the capital soared by 17.7 per cent to £458,000 in the year to February. That £63,000 increase over 12 months compares with average earnings for workers in the capital of just £36,000 a year.

This means many people who own houses in London will have seen their homes “earn” almost twice what they did at work over the past 12 months.

But soaring prices are making life ever more difficult for younger people in London who want to buy homes, as house values rise quicker than their capacity to save for a mortgage down-payment.

“Apart from the lucky few who can rely on the bank of mum and dad, our runaway housing market is forcing a generation to watch a home of their own become an increasingly distant dream, no matter how hard they work or save” save Campbell Robb of Shelter.

Alex Hilton of Generation Rent said the latest figures were also “miserable news” for Britain’s estimated nine million renters, three quarters of whom say they want to buy homes. “Higher prices only means even higher rents as new landlords try to make a return on their increasingly expensive investments” he said.

The Nationwide building society reports that the ratio of first-time-buyer house prices to earnings in London reached a record eight times in the first quarter of 2014. That’s up from 6.7 times a year ago and higher than the previous peak of seven times that was recorded in late 2007.

The jump in London’s prices was the biggest annual increase in seven years, but across the UK house prices also continued to accelerate, rising by 9.7 per cent in the year to February. There were signs of the capital’s boom spreading out across the country too with prices up in every region. Scottish prices were 2.4 per cent higher than a year earlier. In Northern Ireland they were up 2.8 per cent and 5.3 per cent in Wales. The North East of England recorded increases of 2.9 per cent and in the North West prices rose 5.9 per cent. Outside London prices were strongest in the South East, rising by eight per cent.


Many commentators have voiced fears of a potentially dangerous bubble in housing and the regulators at the Bank of England have said they are monitoring the situation closely. The Chancellor George Osborne has also been accused of irresponsibility by stoking demand for housing through his Help to Buy mortgage subsidies, introduced last year. But the government’s housing minister, Kris Hopkins, insisted the housing market was still in line with fundamentals. “Mortgage lending activity in the housing market remains below the historic average and relative to earnings, median house prices across England are around the same level they were in 2005,” he said.

Across the UK the average house price to earnings ratio currently stands at 5.5 per cent. That is below the 6.5 percent ratio recorded at the peak in 2007, but it remains well above the long-term average of 4.2.

In an interview with The Independent earlier this month the Business Secretary Vince Cable said prices were being driven higher by a “chronic imbalance” between housing supply and housing demand. New housing starts in England hit 123,000 in 2013, the highest level in five years. But the annual supply was still estimated to be more than 100,000 below the 250,000 plus levels of construction necessary to meet the demand resulting from new household formation.

Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth gamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Sport
Members of the Scotland deleagtion walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

PMO Analyst - London - Banking - £350 - £400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: PMO Analyst - Banking - London - £350 -£400 per d...

Cost Reporting-MI Packs-Edinburgh-Bank-£350/day

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Cost Reporting Manager - MI Packs -...

Insight Analyst – Permanent – Up to £40k – North London

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum plus 23 days holiday and pension scheme: Clearwater ...

Test Lead - London - Investment Banking

£475 - £525 per day: Orgtel: Test Lead, London, Investment Banking, Technical ...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game