Official figures show April slowing in house price rises

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Official figures, just out, show a fall in the rate of house price inflation between March and April.

HM Land Registry’s April report puts the annual house price increase across the UK at 8.9 per cent, down 1 per cent on the March annual rate of increase.  In England the annual rate of increase was also 8.9 per cent, in Scotland it was 6.3 per cent,  in Wales 15.6 per cent, and in Northern Ireland 6.0 per cent.

In England, prices were actually down by 1.9 per cent on the month, while in Scotland they were down by 4.1 per cent between March and April 2021.

In England, house price growth was strongest in the North East where prices increased by 16.9 per cent in the year to April 2021 (but fell back by 1.7 per cent on the month).

The figures are based on registered completed sales and Land Registry admits the time between the sale of a property and its registration varies and can sometimes be over two months.

This may help to explain why these figures contrast with the almost unfettered increases reported by building societies in recent months.

Even so, there does seem some slight suggestion that building society valuations are helping to drive up price rises. Land Registry reports that the average price paid by cash buyers in April 2021 was £238k but that paid by those buying with the aid of a mortgage was £262k.

In England, although London saw prices under pressure in April, it and its near neighbours continued to command the highest house prices.

In the City of London, where house prices were down 13.6 per cent on the year, the average price was still £793k, in the City of Westminster where house prices were down 11.1 per cent, the average was £919k, and in Kensington and Chelsea, down 16.7 per cent, they were still £1,130k.