UK house prices up 2.6% in the last year

Prices paid by first-time buyers 4.7 per cent higher
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UK house prices increased by 2.6 per cent between April 2012 and April 2013, compared to  a 2.7 per cent increase between March 2012 and March 2013.

Breaking down the figures from the Office for National Statistics, there was 2.8 per cent growth in England and 6.2 per cent in Wales, with declines of 1.2 per cent in Scotland and 0.8 per cent in Northern Ireland.

There was also a 6 per cent rise in London and a 3.6 per cent jump in the East Midlands - excluding London and the South East, UK house prices increased by 1.4 per cent.

In April 2013, the ONS report shows prices paid by first-time buyers were 4.7 per cent higher on average than in April 2012.

Giles Hannah, managing director of London agency VanHan, said: "The national average figures demonstrate a clear divide between London, the home counties and then the UK as a whole. In London, house prices will likely continue an upwards trend over the next three years owing to the severe lack of supply of new homes actually ready and completed. Internationals from Singapore and Hong Kong are buying off plan in new developments, particularly in Covent Garden, which has seen prices soar in the past year. This is not a bubble, the market is simply rising with increased demand, a severe lack of supply and an improving economy in the UK."

Andy Knee, Chief Executive of LMS, added: "The primary issue for most, especially first time buyers, is sourcing the deposit. The introduction of the government’s Help to Buy scheme will undoubtedly instigate a rush of activity, so if you have the means, or particularly generous family members, it would be advisable to get in now.”