East Anglia: House prices soar to record new high
17:27 18 February 2014
House prices in East Anglia have surged to a new record high and now stand at more than one quarter of a million pounds on average, official figures show.
Property values in the east of England rose by 4.6% across 2013 to reach £263,000 in December, research by the Office for National Statistics found.
It was the highest growth outside of London (12.3%) last year and the highest total for the region for more than a decade.
Charlie Mitchell, head of agency at the Ipswich branch of estate agents Strutt and Parker, described the news as evidence the property market is now returning to healthy and confident levels.
A further analysis of the ONS data will provide another boon to property owners.
Comparing the difference in average house prices from January to December, property values in the east of England increased in 2010 by £2,000, fell in 2011 by £8,000, rose in 2012 by £4,000 before surging last year by £9,000 – from £254,000 to £263,000.
It was the biggest January-December increase since 2007, when the region saw a £12,000 rise. In contrast, in recession-hit 2008, it collapsed by £29,000.
In addition, last December’s figure of £263,000 was the highest on the ONS record, which stretches back to February 2002. In December that year the average house price was £174,000.
“We are now very bullish and very confident,” Mr Mitchell said.
“Supply is still pretty low and there are still a lot of properties out there that are too expensive, but the market is returning to healthy levels.
“However people need to be more a lot more motivated and start getting their houses on the market to take advantage of the confidence.”
He dismissed concerns a housing bubble was being created in the region.
“I don’t think we are at that stage in East Anglia. It is not going berserk here,” he said.
But Adam Morton, policy leader at The National Housing Federation, warned rising property prices have led to families struggling to get on the housing ladder.
“These figures are another reminder that in the East of England, and across the country, home ownership is moving beyond the reach of more and more people,” he said.
“With house prices and rents continuing to rise, many families are finding it increasingly difficult to get on the housing ladder.
“Quite simply, we are not building enough homes to keep up with demand. We need to build more of the right homes in the right places for the right prices.
We need measures that directly increase supply as well as stimulate demand, and a longer-term strategy that finds other ways to deliver homes. It’s time for us all – politicians, industry and local people – to say yes to homes.”
Nationally, a 12.3% rise in London drove the average property value in the UK to £250,000 in 2013. Charity Shelter warned that house prices are “spiralling out of control”, but Housing Minister Kris Hopkins said the data proved the market was in “robust health”.