Property prices surge ahead

House prices

House price growth accelerated across the UK in May, with values in Northern Ireland surging at more than twice the pace of growth in London over the last year, official figures show.

UK property values increased by 5.7% in the year to May, up from 5.5% in April, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

The latest jump took the average property price across the country to £274,000 - equalling a cash peak seen in August last year. House prices are now 13.3% higher than in January 2008, before the financial downturn set in, the ONS said.

On a month-on-month basis, values increased 0.9% across the UK in May, following a 1.4% dip in April.

Across the regions, prices in Northern Ireland have seen the strongest upswing over the last year, recording a 10.5% increase. Values in London have pushed up at less than half this rate, by 4.7%.

Property prices in Northern Ireland fell particularly sharply in the wake of the downturn, and still have some way to go to reach the levels they were at before the financial crisis, while prices in London are at record levels.

The average price in Northern Ireland is £152,000, which is 43% below the 2007 peak. The typical price in London is £503,000 - 40% higher than the pre-downturn peak.

In Scotland, prices have increased by 2.9% over the last year, taking the average value to £193,000. Prices in Scotland are 6.6% below a record level seen in March.

In Wales, prices have increased by 2.5% year-on-year, pushing the average value to £170,000. The index for Wales is 2.4% below a record level set in January.

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