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.

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
Sport
Jonas Gutierrez (r) competes with Yaya Toure (l)
football

Newcastle winger is in Argentina having chemotherapy

Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum
theatre

Returning to the stage after 20 years makes actress feel 'nauseous'

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
news

Man's attempt to avoid being impounded heavily criticised

Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Student
The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is to offer a BA degree in Performance and Creative Enterprise
student

Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
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

Recruitment Consultant - Soho - IT, Pharma, Public Sector

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35,000 first year: SThree: The SThree group i...

Sales Executive

£20 - 24k (Uncapped Commission - £35k Year 1 OTE): Guru Careers: We are seekin...

Payroll & Accounts Assistant

£20 - 24k + Benefits: Guru Careers: This is a great opportunity for an enthusi...

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £280 - £320 p/d - 6 months

£280 - £320 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week