Business

House price inflation back to 10%, government says

Looking in an estate agent's window
Image caption Prices are rising at their fastest rate since the autumn of 2007

Annual house price inflation is back in double-digits, according to government figures.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) said prices in April were 10.1% higher than a year ago.

That was the highest rate of inflation since October 2007, when prices were on a downward trend.

UK house prices rose by another 0.4% in April, putting the cost of the average UK property at £207,516.

Annual house prices rose in all UK countries except Northern Ireland in the year to April 2010, the DCLG said.

Annual house price growth was 10.9% in England, 2.2% in Scotland and 11.3% in Wales.

But in Northern Ireland prices fell by 8.9% on average in the year to April.

Mortgage lending

Separate figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) show that mortgage lending this year has been modest.

It said the number of loans granted to home buyers fell by 9% in April to 40,000.

The CML explained that this was a seasonal effect due to the Easter holidays, and said lending was still 15% higher than a year ago.

"Lending for house purchase still looks modestly positive compared to 2009," said Michael Coogan, director general of the CML.

"First-time buyers were particularly affected, perhaps because of the alteration to stamp duty, and in anticipation of the changes arising from the economic and political uncertainty of recent months."

However the proportion of loans made to first-time buyers was just 35% of the total - the lowest figure since September 2007.

With only a gradual easing of mortgage rationing in the past few months, first time buyers are still having to put down an average 25% deposit when buying a new home.

"The low share of the market shows that getting a mortgage remains problematic for first-time buyers who tend not to have a substantial deposit," Mr Coogan said.

Andrew Montlake, of mortgage broker Coreco, said: "Even taking into account the traditional Easter dip in activity, the figures for first-time buyers are still disappointing, and highlight how difficult it remains to secure finance without a sizable deposit."

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