UK house prices just 8% off record high

House prices

The average price of a UK home has hit £183,462 - just 8% lower than the all-time high of £199,612 reached in August 2007.

UK house prices rose by 2.3% during the second quarter of the year (April to June 2014) compared to the first three months. But prices were 8.8% higher than in the same period of 2013, according to the Halifax house price index.

On a monthly basis, home values dipped slightly, by 0.6%, last month, having risen 4% in May.

The fall in June marked the fourth monthly decline in prices since December 2013. That month they fell by 0.5%, in March by 1.2% and in April by 0.3%.

The average home in the UK is now worth nearly five times average earnings, at a price/earnings ratio of 4.95. In May it was 4.98 – the highest it had been since July 2008 when it was exactly five times earnings – though the highest it has ever been was 5.83 in July 2007.

Meanwhile, the number of home sales fell by 3% in May to fewer than 100,000 for the first time in six months, but were still 15% up on May 2013, according to the tax office.

Slowing sales were accompanied by a fall in the number of enquiries from new buyers in May 2014, the sixth month in a row demand waned, reported the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

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Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: "With estate agents reporting that applicant levels are falling, fewer sealed bids and packed open houses, some moderation is returning to the market. As more property comes up for sale, with vendors worrying that they may have missed the boat, the heat has come out of the housing market.

He added: "The threat of an interest rate rise is there in the background, influencing people's willingness to take on more debt. Fixed-rate mortgages are still cheap however, although they are edging up slightly. The mortgage market review is having an impact and slowing things down although we expect this to be temporary as lenders get to grips with the new regime."

Commenting on the rise in quarterly and annual prices, Stephen Noakes, mortgages director at Halifax, said: "Housing demand continues to be supported by an economic recovery that is gathering pace, with employment levels growing and rising consumer confidence, although real earnings growth remains sluggish."