London house price growth figures highlighted


House price growth in London has accelerated for the first time in nearly a year, according to an official index.

London property values increased by 4.7% in the 12 months to April, taking the average price to £482,779, data released jointly by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the Land Registry and other bodies showed.

The annual growth rate was 1.5 percentage points higher than in the year to March 2017.

The report said: "This is the first time in 11 months that the rate of price growth in London has increased."

House price growth also bounced back across the UK generally, with a 5.6% increase in the year to April 2017, up from 4.5% in the year to March. 

Across the UK, the average house price stood at £220,000 in April, following a 1.6% month-on-month increase.

The main contribution to the increase in UK house prices came from England, where house prices increased by 5.7% over the year to April, with the average price now £237,000.

Wales saw house prices increase by 4.2% over the previous 12 months to reach £148,000.

In Scotland, the average price increased by 6.8% over the year to £146,000.

The average price in Northern Ireland currently stands at £124,000, marking an increase of 4.3% over the year.

Within England, the East showed the highest annual growth, with prices increasing by 8.1% in the year to April.

This was followed by the South West at 6.8%. The lowest annual growth was in the North East, where prices increased by 0.6% over the year, followed by the North West at 4.1%.

Across Britain, a first-time buyer faces paying 5% more for a home than a year ago, with the average price paid by the sector now at £185,266.

Commenting on the figures, Richard Snook, a senior economist at PwC, said: "These figures go against the recent trend of a Brexit-related slowdown that we predicted last year but remain consistent with our guidance of 2% to 5% growth in 2017 as a whole."

Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent and a former residential chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, said: "Looking forward until the politics have been resolved, many will be adopting a wait-and-see attitude as far as decision-making is concerned and property will be no exception."