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House prices have soared by £50,000 since the start of the pandemic

House price data defies expectations with cost of the average home surging £50,000 since start of the pandemic

House prices in Britain have soared by £50,000 since the start of the pandemic, according to official figures released yesterday.

In a report that cast doubt on expectations of a sharp slowdown in the property market, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that the value of a typical home hit £281,000 in April.

That was £50,000 higher than in February 2020 as the coronavirus crisis struck, and £31,000 higher than in April last year. 

The Office for National Statistics said the value of a typical home hit £281,000 in April. That was £50,000 higher than in February 2020 and £31,000 higher than in April last year

Analysts said the property market was being driven by buyers looking to lock in cheap mortgage deals ahead of further expected rate hikes by the Bank of England.

Mark Harris, of SPF Private Clients, a mortgage broker, commented: ‘Borrowers are moving quickly to secure the best fixed rates.’

The ONS said house prices increased 12.4 per cent in the 12 months to April, which was a faster rise than the 9.7 per cent gain that was made in the year to March. 

It was the second highest rate of growth for 16 years – beaten only by June 2021 when prices rose by 13.3 per cent as buyers raced to complete in a stamp duty holiday.

In Wales and Scotland, house price growth hit 16.2 per cent. In England, the rate was 11.9 per cent, while Northern Ireland recorded 10.4 per cent growth.

The South West had the fastest price increases of any region in England, with growth at 14.1 per cent, while London recorded the slowest pace of growth, at 7.9 per cent.

Despite the rises experts have warned the property market will slow later this year as cheap mortgage options dry up.

Andrew Montlake, the managing director of mortgage broker Coreco, said: ‘This data is not a true reflection of where the market is right now.

The era of ultra-cheap money is finished and that will soon start to feed through into house-price growth.’

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