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West Yorkshire's house prices stall despite UK surge
House prices in West Yorkshire grew by less than anywhere else in England last year, despite UK prices surging to another record high.
According to new figures compiled by the Office for National Statistics, property values across the UK rose by 5.5 per cent during 2013 to reach an average £250,000 in December.
In England, house prices rose by 5.7 per cent over the year to reach £260,000 on average but, in Yorkshire and the Humber, prices increased by only 1.8 per cent, to an average of £168,000.
The only area of the UK that fared worse was Scotland, with prices there going up by just half a per cent.
Housing Minister and Ilkley MP Kris Hopkins said: “These figures show that the housing market is in robust health, thanks to the Government’s actions taken to keep interest rates down and our initiatives to help people get onto the housing ladder through schemes like Help to Buy and Right to Buy.
“Our affordable housing programme is investing almost £20 billion in homes for those on lower incomes too, to ensure all hard-working people benefit from the economic recovery.”
The Government’s Help to Buy scheme, which started last year, has widened the availability of mortgages for people with deposits as low as five per cent and has helped to pave the way for more loans to be handed out to first-time buyers 2013 than in any other year since the economic downturn.
But some experts argue that, while the scheme has helped to boost the supply of potential home-buyers, more should be done to increase the supply of properties on the market, which could calm house prices.
Price rises in London are still responsible for a “large part” of the upswing in values, the ONS said. London saw a 12.3 per cent increase in house prices in the year to December, pushing prices to £450,000 typically, which is one fifth (20.3 per cent) higher than their pre-financial crisis peak in 2008.
The house price index across the UK surpassed a previous record high reached in November. On a monthly basis, prices rose by 0.9 per cent between November and December.
The figures also show that the average first-time buyer is paying 7.4 per cent more for a home than they were a year ago. In December, the typical price paid by a first-time buyer was £189,000.
Home-movers are paying 4.7 per cent more than they were in December 2012. The average price paid by an existing home-owner has risen to £286,000.
Charity Shelter warned that the landmark figures were evidence that prices were “spiralling out of control”.
Campbell Robb, Shelter’s chief executive, said: “Yet again, the Government’s own figures show that house prices are still spiralling out of control. Until we build enough homes to keep house prices stable, more young people and families desperate to put down roots will see a home of their own become a distant dream.
“Schemes like Help to Buy are only making the problem worse by inflating house prices further.
“To give the next generation a fighting chance, the Government needs to get serious about building more affordable homes now.”
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