Region’s house prices hit record high with average £315,000 in East Anglia
- Credit: PA
Average house prices in the East of England have hit a record high – soaring to more than £315,000, latest figures have revealed.
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that in January the East of England’s house prices had climbed by nearly 10% from 12 months previously, when the average house price in the region was £287,000.
And industry experts have warned that prices show no sign of slowing down just yet.
Alex Leader, associate director of Savills in Chelmsford and Ipswich, said: “Until there is enough product out there to quench the demand, prices will continue to increase. It’s when you start to introduce more stock that then prices fall.”
A shortage of houses – and particularly affordable housing – is thought to be behind the continued rise in prices, with the value of houses higher when there are fewer homes available.
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Claire Astbury, external affairs manager for the East of England at the National Housing Federation, said: “From our point of view, we work with housing federations and have been highlighting the problems of affordability, and our members are working really hard to deliver more affordable housing.”
The latest statistics show that the East of England has increased by 9.7% – more than the national average of 7.9%, with the latest average house price in the UK at £292,000.
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Estate agents are divided over whether young homeowners and first time buyers will be hardest hit, but admit that demand for homes outstripping supply is working against first time buyers looking to find the perfect home.
John Knighton, listings negotiator at Jonathan Waters in Ipswich, said: “Buy to let could be a problem in that it’s creating false demand so it is harder to get a foot on the ladder. That’s why they are increasing the costs of buying a property.”
But Mr Leader disagrees, pointing to the number of incentives available to help first time buyers.
“First time buyers can still take advantage of the Help to Buy scheme and other incentives – they will always have a place in the market,” he said.
“Banks were being quite stingy who they were lending to but they are now calming that down so everything is working well.”
Ms Astbury believes more people may turn to shared ownership opportunities, she added: “The housing market doesn’t work very well for people all over, and first time buyers have a huge leap to make in terms of getting a mortgage and a home. That’s where the shared option comes in so people can get started with a suitable home.”