Boost for the property market
The property market received a boost during August, according to the Acadametrics house price index, which looks at prices in England and Wales.
It shows a 2.5% rise in sales activity and a 2.6% annual increase in house prices, with the average property in England and Wales costing £226,243.
Richard Sexton, director of chartered surveyors e.surv, says: "However, rather than signaling a radical shift in the housing market, the improvement reflects a mini-resurgence following more sluggish buyer activity earlier in the summer, affected by a combination of the Jubilee bank holiday and historically heavy rainfall.
"In reality, obtaining a big enough mortgage remains a hurdle for thousands of first-time buyers, despite the government's NewBuy scheme. While a lack of stock continues to support house prices, it is cash buyers and the equity rich that are providing the impetus for short-term improvements in the market."
Also, it's not a homogenous picture across England and Wales. Wealthier investors are playing a pivotal role in the national housing market, and there is an increasing divide between the North and South.
London, the South East and the South West - where there are greater concentrations of wealthier buyers - are the key driving forces at present, says Sexton, and these regions are seeing the fastest rate of annual price growth.
However, even within cities, local markets are running at completely different paces. In London, for instance, Kensington & Chelsea is seeing five times the annual price growth of a less affluent borough such as Lewisham.
The index shows a marginal rise of £153 or 0.1% in the average price for properties sold in England and Wales during August, compared with July.
For the fourth month in succession prices have remained within the £226,000 - £226,250 range, with the August average price being just £6 different from that seen in May.