House prices up 1pc in January
The figures also showed that the number of properties sold over the past year decreased. Between August and November there was on average 58,947 sales a month, down from 61,595 in the same months a year prior.
The latest figures out this morning from the Land Registry also show that there were 1,589 repossessions in England and Wales during November 2012. The only region to see an increase in repossessions is Wales with an annual increase of 21 per cent (November 2012 compared with November 2011).
Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said it is was “worrying” that so many homeowners were being repossessed while interest rates were at the record low of 0.5pc.
“More needs to be done, and lenders need to continue to show forbearance towards borrowers,” he said.
Ben Madden, managing director of lettings specialist, Thorgills, said the house price rise was “baffling” given the UK’s “dire economy”.
“For average prices in England and Wales to have risen by 1% between December and January is extraordinary,” he said.
“London, as ever, continues to bulldoze its way through the bleak economic climate. For London house prices to have risen 2.5% in just one month is quite something,” he added.
He said a key driver for the London market was the “massive” demand for rental property.
“Landlords are competing hard for property as they know the rents currently achievable are exceptional. This is driving prices ever higher,” he said.
“Many first-time buyers are being swept aside by the growing tide of landlords seeking the high returns on offer.”