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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

House price rise at fastest rate for eight months

UK house prices leapt by 7.7% in the year to November after rising at the fastest rate for eight months.

This compares to 7.0% in the year to October as the market picked up pace towards the end of last year.

The East, the South East and London saw the largest annual increases of 10.2%, 9.8% and 9.8% respectively.

The average UK home now costs £288,000, according to the latest house price index from the Office for National Statistics.

Prices paid for new dwellings increased by 14% on average to £294,000.

Brian Murphy, head of lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB), said the leap in prices came in what is traditionally a quieter month for the housing market.

“Those lucky enough to already be on the property ladder are the clear winners, as homeowners trading up to the next rung take advantage of improving property values.

“Increased equity means even those not looking to sell can benefit by switching to a more affordable mortgage deal.”

Murphy said the dearth of properties combined with rampant demand means house price growth isn’t likely to slow any time soon.

“This creates clear affordability concerns for first-time buyers.”

Adrian Whittaker, sales director, New Street Mortgages, said vendors are in a strong position where they can select the most appropriate buyer.

“Securing a mortgage offer quickly can now make all the difference in getting the keys to your dream home.

“Advisers must ensure that they choose a lender with the right systems to offer their customers a fast and consistent lending process.”

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and former RICS chairman, predicted further growth throughout the spring.

"We expect things to settle down from mid-March when the market will find a new level, as it will be too late for investors and second home buyers to complete before 1 April to avoid higher stamp duty.”

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