U.K. Average House Prices Surpass 250,000 Pounds for the First Time

The average price of a home in the U.K. has surpassed a quarter of a million pounds for the first time after the housing market defied the coronanvirus crisis to post the biggest jump in more than six years.

The 8.5% increase in December from a year earlier was the largest since October 2014 and took the cost of buying a property to 251,500 pounds ($349,000), according to Land Registry figures published by the Office for National Statistics Wednesday.

While London recorded the smallest increase, the capital city remains by far the most expensive part of the country. Values stood at just below 500,000 pounds after a 1.1% decline from November.

U.K. Average House Prices Surpass 250,000 Pounds for the First Time

The housing boom reflects pent-up demand following the first lockdown in the spring, a temporary tax cut for buyers and an increased preference for family homes with more outside space, a shift brought about by changing work patterns during the pandemic.

Prices of detached properties increased by 10% during the year, double the pace of apartments and maisonettes. House prices overall rose fastest in northwest England.

The question is whether the boom can continue after Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s stamp-duty holiday expires at the end of next month. Some say the market is heading for a cliff edge, though a survey this week found house hunters out in force in February even though they have little hope of benefiting from the tax break, which saves buyers as much as 15,000 pounds.

Home values are now above their pre-financial crisis peaks in every region of the U.K. after the northeast finally crossed the threshold in December, the latest figures show.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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