Average UK house price soars to record £287,000 in October


House prices surged to another record high of £287,000 across the UK and hit the £300,000 mark in England for the first time on average in October, according to official figures.

Across the UK, typical property values climbed by £1,000 month on month, from a previous record of £286,000 in September, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

UK property values were 7% higher than a year earlier, accelerating from annual growth of 6.1% in September.

In England, average house prices also edged up by £1,000 on the previous month - to stand at a new record high of £300,000.

House prices in England were 7.4% higher than a year earlier, with the growth being driven by the East and the South East, which saw property values increase by 10.4% and 9.5% respectively. 

In London, the average house price is now £531,000, after increasing by 7.7% over the last year.

House prices in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland all sat below their all-time highs in October.

In Wales, property values edged up by 1% year on year to reach £174,000 on average. The index for Wales is just 0.3% below the record level seen in January.

In Scotland, house prices increased by 0.9% annually to reach £196,000 typically. House prices in Scotland are around 5% below their record levels seen in March this year.

Northern Ireland has seen house prices leap by 10.3% over the last year, which is similar to the level of house price growth seen in the East of England.

But at £158,000 on average, house prices in Northern Ireland are still 41% below their all-time peak, reached in August 2007. 

The ONS figures also show that first-time buyers face paying around 5.9% more for a property than they did a year ago, with the average price paid by someone taking their first step on the property ladder at £218,000 in October.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of housing charity Shelter, said: "Right now, millions of people across the country are stuck in expensive private renting because of our housing shortage, with barely enough money left over each month to pay for essentials, let alone save for a deposit.

"So while it's promising to see the Government finally focusing on building more homes, unless those homes are genuinely affordable to people on ordinary incomes instead of just higher earners, this crisis will never truly be solved."

Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight, said the Government's plans to impose a three percentage point stamp duty surcharge for buy-to-let investors from April will lead to an increase in housing demand and put further upward pressure on house prices as buyers look to beat the increase.

He said: "We expect house prices to rise by around 6% to 7% in 2016. The shortage of properties poses a significant upside risks to these forecasts."