Friday, April 30 2004

The average price of a house has risen above the £150,000 mark for the first time, Hometrack has calculated, confirming the findings of others that the market is holding firm.

Price rises were spread across the country with Cumbria performing extremely well according to the research, fuelling speculation that beauty spots are supporting property hot spots.

Other regions that saw the highest recorded price rises were Mid Wales, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Lancashire, Northumberland and Teesside.

In addition, all the major cities saw rising prices this month, with Canterbury and Carlisle showing the largest rises; Bradford and Norwich also proved popular.

Hometrack also calculated that both the number of properties for sale and the number of buyers registered have risen this month. However numbers of new buyers continue to outstrip numbers of properties listed, indicating that demand continues to outweigh supply.

These figures would indicate that house prices will continue to increase in coming months, contradicting those who think a crash is imminent.

John Wriglesworth, Hometrack’s housing consultant, said: ‘House prices are continuing to rise strongly with no signs of a slowdown. Demand continues to outpace supply, sellers are getting even closer to their asking prices and transactions are rising strongly.

‘The only economic figures that could seriously hinder future rises in house prices over the next year are a doubling of either interest rates, stamp duty or unemployment.

‘No economist in the world is expecting this for the UK, even those at the IMF! We continue to confidently forecast house price inflation of 8% for this year.’