House prices reach record high of £250,000

Housing market

House prices smashed through the £250,000 barrier to reach a record high of £252,798 in June 2013, according to Rightmove. It said that while demand for homes had picked up in the south east, asking prices were now rising just as fast in the north of the country.

The organisation said the June figure represented an annual rise of 2.7%, while it was also 1.2% up on May 2013, the sixth consecutive monthly rise this year.

Miles Shipside, director and housing market analyst at Rightmove, said: "It's the south east that has really started to lift-off. On top of that, the first half of 2013 saw little sign of the traditional north-south divide with the first-half asking price surge in the north almost equal to that of the south. The good news is that this indicates a wider upturn, albeit at historically low but increasing volumes."

While the asking price and the eventual sale price of a home may differ by a small margin, the asking price is a strong indicator of perceived market value and direction.

London set another new record in June, with asking prices rising to £515,243, while the south east saw a record price of £329,968 as a result of a 14.8% increase over the first six months of 2013.

Rightmove also said there is evidence of a wider recovery as asking prices in the north (North, North West, Yorks & Humber, East Midlands, West Midlands, and Wales) rose by 9.2%, almost keeping pace with the 10.6% seen in the south (including Greater London, South East, South West and East Anglia) over the first half of the year.

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"While some northern regions outpaced London this year, the price gap remains daunting for those looking to up sticks and head to the bright but dazzlingly expensive lights of the capital," Shipside added.

"The average price of a property in London is still more than three times higher than in the north. [But] it remains to be seen whether the northern momentum has enough legs to last the course for the remainder of 2013."

More than 6 billion pages of property were viewed on Rightmove in the first five months of 2013 – up more than 20% on the same period last year.