Home prices rose £18,000 on average around UK last year


The average price of a home increased by £18,000 during 2015, according to official figures.

In December 2015, the typical UK property was worth £288,000 - up from £270,000 on average in January last year, Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show. 

The house price data was released as separate figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) showed that lending to first-time buyers, home movers and buy-to-let investors reached its highest levels since 2007 in 2015.  

House prices increased by 6.7% annually in December, although they dipped slightly by 0.2% month on month, according to the ONS's data. 

In England, property prices increased by 7.3% in the year to December, reaching £301,000 on average. House price growth in England was driven by a 9.7% annual price increase in the East, a 9.4% annual price uplift in London and 8.8% year-on-year growth in property values in the South East.

London continues to be the most expensive region for house prices, with the average price of a property at £536,000.

The cheapest region in England for house prices is the North East, where the typical cost of a home is £155,000.

In Wales, house prices increased by 1% annually to reach £175,000 on average. Scotland saw prices dip by 0.2% annually, taking the average value of a home there to £193,000.

In Northern Ireland, house prices increased by 1.5% annually, taking the typical price of a home there to £148,000.

First-time buyers faced paying 6.4% more for a property in December than they would have paid a year earlier. The average price paid for a starter home in December 2015 was £219,000, the ONS figures showed.

Meanwhile, the CML said that first-time buyers collectively borrowed £46.7 billion for home owner house purchase in 2015, marking a 4% increase compared with 2014 and the highest lending total for this sector by value since 2007.

Home owners who were moving home borrowed a total of £72.1 billion to do so last year, a figure which was up by 7% on 2014. Lending to this sector was also at its annual highest since 2007, the CML said.

And £15.6 billion was borrowed by buy-to-let investors for house purchase in 2015, a figure which was also the highest annual total since 2007, according to the CML's figures.

From April, buy-to-let investors will face a three percentage point hike on current stamp duty rates when they buy a property. 

Many mortgage lenders have been offering some of their lowest ever home loan rates in recent months, helping to keep borrowers' repayments relatively low, but home owners have been warned to consider how they would cope when interest rates eventually start to increase.

Paul Smee, director general of the CML, said improving economic conditions and schemes to give first-time buyers a helping hand like Help to Buy are behind the increasing lending figures.

He said: "The market has seen a gradual upward trajectory over the past few years, rather than rapid growth, and we'd expect this trend to continue with gross lending steadily increasing over the next two years."

But Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said the rising cost of a home means many people are losing hope of getting on the housing ladder.

Mr Robb said: "Those without help from the bank of mum and dad are facing a lifetime trapped in expensive and unstable private renting."