Mortgages and House Prices in the UK Reach New High

Mortgages and House Prices in the UK Reach New High

According to a recently released study by the property website, Rightmove, the average asking prices for UK homes showed the strongest annual price rise for over a year during the period from mid-April to early May. The report has caused Rightmove to revise its original estimates for the price increases for 2006, up from about 5 per cent to 8 per cent as a shortage of attractive properties being available for sale is helping to push up general house prices across the UK.

The figures showed that asking prices rose for the fifth consecutive month as the supply of homes has again not kept pace with the current levels of demand. This has taken the average asking price for a UK residential property to 209,829.

Mortgages and House Prices in the UK Reach New High

This latest report reinforce other house price surveys from mortgage lenders such as the Halifax, with the combined figures suggesting that the country's housing market is gradually picking up again following a period of stagnation between mid-2004 and late 2005.

Rightmove have been keen to point out that there are currently no signs that the increased pressure placed on the incomes of buyers by the rise in the housing index was causing serious harm to the housing market. They did say however that house price inflation was unlikely to continue climbing at its current pace.

"It can't keep rising like this but will flatten out rather than fall back substantially, as there are few 'distress sales' from vendors who are forced to sell at any price, said Miles Shipside, Rightmove's commercial director.

Despite April seeing mortgage lending reach record highs, Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) director general Michael Coogan said: "In the past couple of months the interest rate picture has changed and financial markets are expecting the Bank of England to raise rates this summer. If this happens, housing and mortgage market activity is likely to slow down from the recent high levels as the year progresses."

The pace of house price growth has surprised many policymakers with the Bank of England Governor, Mervyn King, saying that house prices seemed "remarkably high", although he noted there had been some slowdown in the rate of increase in home loan approvals. Concerns have risen that any easing in interest rates from their current 4.5 percent could help to reignite another house price inflation boom.

While current house buyers compare mortgages online with financial comparison sites like Moneynet, to determine size of loan they can obtain and afford at present rates, "Increasing the cost of borrowing will stretch affordability further, making it even harder for buyers to satisfy their housing needs," said Miles Shipside, Rightmove's commercial director.

Disclaimer: All information contained in this article, is for general information purposes only and should not be construed as advice under the Financial Services Act 1986. You are strongly advised to take appropriate Printer Ink professional and legal advice before entering into any binding contracts..