Price of flats up more than £50,000 in last decade

Semi-detached homes have risen in popularity in particular among first-time buyers

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The Independent Online

The average price of a flat in the UK is now £208,169, according to a new report, up from £157,172 in 2004.

The figures from Halifax show that the rise is more than double the 15 per cent jump for all residential properties over the same period. Detached homes (12 per cent) and bungalows (13 cent) have seen the smallest rises over the last decade.

Meanwhile, the best performing kind of property in the North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, West Midlands, East Midlands and East Anglia, has been terraced homes.

Overall, semi-detached and terraced homes - which have made up nearly two thirds of all home sales this year - are the most popular types of property bought over the past ten years. Semi-detached have risen in popularity in particular among first-time buyers, accounting for 29 per cent of purchases in 2014 compared with 25 per cent in 2004.

"There has been a significant increase in the number of first-time buyers since 2010 compared with a modest decline in the number of those moving home," said Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax. "This difference is reflected in a bigger rise in prices over the past five years for those property types that are most popular with first-time buyers, flats and terraces.

"Since 2009, larger property types  such as detached homes, semis and bungalows  have underperformed flats and terraces. The demand for such properties has been partly constrained by a widespread lack of equity amongst homeowners who bought for the first time around the peak in the market. Many of these homeowners are still finding it difficult to finance a move to a larger home."

According to Halifax's report, a typical flat in the East Midlands now costs  £94,500 and between £100,000 and £110,000 in the North, Yorkshire and the Humber and West Midlands. Although London easily tops the list for the highest average price for flats (£328,800), they are still the least expensive of all property types in the capital.

A report from estate agents haart suggests that there are now on average nine buyers chasing every new property registered for sale in the UK.

"People now see the reality that interest rates will rise early next year but are keen to take advantage of current market conditions, " said Paul Smith, CEO of haart. "Our message to people thinking about selling is that autumn is crunch time. Good mortgage deals are still plentiful but won’t last forever. Buyers do have increased choice right now but the strong competition that remains in the market will ensure that those selling now have the best chance at the best price."