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House prices rise despite election upheaval

Joanna Faith
Written By:
Joanna Faith

Average UK house prices rose by 1.6% in April, according to the official UK House Price Index – despite Theresa May calling a snap Election that month.

The average price of a UK home is now £220,094, said the Government, up 5.6% from a year ago.

Other indicators suggests a robust market, despite political uncertainty. In terms of housing demand, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ (RICS) residential market survey for April 2017 reported that price expectations are positive although new buyer enquiries remain low.

Regional outlook

The largest house price growth was in the East of England (8.1%) while the lowest house price growth was in the North East (0.6%) in the 12 months to April 2017. House prices grew by 4.7% in London over the same period, 1.5 percentage points higher than in the year to March 2017. This is the first time in 11 months that the rate of price growth in London has increased.

Alex Gosling, CEO of online estate agents HouseSimple.com, said: “Late March saw Theresa May invoke Article 50 and mid April she called a snap General Election. With two monumental announcements you would expect house prices to wobble – instead prices were up almost 2% in April.

“The housing market seems to have an invisible shield protecting it from economic and political turbulence. However, these figures are based on sales, so offers would have been made well before either of these announcements.

“May, June and July’s figures will likely show a completely different picture as economic uncertainty went into overdrive and the PM’s election campaign de-railed in spectacularly fashion.

“What was meant to be a Tory landslide was anything but in the end, and the whole debacle will have hit buyer and seller confidence.”