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UK house prices rise

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by Elaine Frei

Prices for houses in London were up by 7.2 percent in the three months between November and February, according to new data released on Friday. During the same period, house prices in the rest of England and Wales added an average of around 1.2 percent. That increase took the average rate of house price inflation in the UK from 3.2 percent in November to 4 percent in March. That rate, if it continued for a full year, would mean an annual house price inflation of more than 30 percent.

For the moment the high rate of growth in London house prices does not seem to be spreading beyond the capital. Even in the South East, which generally keeps pace with London prices, house prices were only up 1.3 percent in the three-month period. Growth was even slower in the North at just 1 percent, and in the East Midlands prices were down by 1 percent.

Some analysts believe that if prices continue to go up at the present rate, and especially if this growth spreads from London to other regions, the monetary policy committee of the Bank of England will begin to consider raising interest rates in order to rein in the inflation.

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News posted: April 7, 2006

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