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UK house prices rise in March as regions outpace London

Monday, March 21, 2016 - 08:59

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UK house prices rose 1.3 per cent in March, pushing the average above 300,000 pounds (S$591,000) for the first time, according to Rightmove Plc.

[LONDON] UK house prices rose 1.3 per cent in March, pushing the average above 300,000 pounds (S$591,000) for the first time, according to Rightmove Plc.

Average asking prices increased 7.6 per cent compared with a year earlier, the property-website operator said on Monday. That takes the increase over the past 10 years to 50 per cent , more than twice the pace of earnings growth, according to Rightmove.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has pledged to make more land available for homebuilding amid a shortage of properties that's fueling rampant price gains. He's also trying to help first-time buyers, and last week introduced a savings product that can be used toward a down payment for a property costing 450,000 pounds or less.

Gains were spread across the country in March, with asking prices in southwest England, the northeast and the West Midlands increasing by about 2.5 per cent on the month.

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In the UK capital, prices stagnated, with prices in inner London - including wealthy areas such as Kensington - falling 1.7 per cent to 833,225 pounds on average. Outer districts rose 2.1 per cent to 517,201 pounds as house-hunters sought more affordable property.

Rightmove said there's been a "surge" in the number of properties coming to market as well as "diminished appetite among buyers to pay higher prices." The average asking price in London was 644,045 pounds, up 11 per cent from a year earlier.

"London is a myriad of different local markets," said Miles Shipside, director at Rightmove. There is "stagnation and readjustment in many boroughs that are now a shadow of the former price-rise powerhouse of the last few years." BLOOMBERG

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