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Economist: House prices likely to continue rising

House prices are likely to continue rising "solidly" over the next few months, according to a leading economist.

House prices rose by 8.0% in the 12 months to March to reach £252,000 on average, ONS figures show. Credit: PA

Dr Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist for IHS Global Insight, said: "Housing market activity is likely to be supported by substantially improved consumer confidence, markedly rising employment, improving earnings growth and extended low mortgage interest rates."

The rise is also currently being fuelled by the Help to Buy initiatives and a short supply of homes in some areas, he added.

House prices rise 17% in London in a year

Annual house price rises in England are being driven by a 17% year-on-year increase in London, where the average house price has reached £459,000, according to the Office for National Statistics.

"House prices are increasing strongly across most parts of the UK, with prices in London again showing the highest growth," it said in a report.

It also recorded a 6.6% rise in the East and a 6.1% increase in prices in the South East.

More: David Cameron would consider changes to Help to Buy scheme


PM: I would consider changes to Help to Buy scheme

David Cameron said he would consider changes to the Government's Help to Buy mortgage scheme if advised to do so by the Bank of England.

The Prime Minister says he would consider changes to the 'Help to Buy' scheme if advised by the Bank of England. Credit: PA

When asked on Radio 4's Today show if the Government would think about changing the mortgage guarantee scheme to reduce its upper borrowing limit, the Prime Minister replied: "Of course. We will consider any changes that are proposed by Mark Carney."

The Bank of England's Governor said at the weekend that the bank is looking at new measures to control mortgage lending amid a shortage of home building.

The Help to Buy mortgage scheme lets people buy property worth up to £600,000 with deposits as a low as 5%.

House sellers' asking prices reach record high

House sellers' asking prices went up 8.9% in the last 12 months, meaning the average property is on sale at a new record high of £272,003.

  • In London, asking prices went up 16.3% in the last year
  • Compared with 4.9% across the rest of the country
  • Ten out of 32 boroughs in London say annual rises of more than 20% - with a 43% increase in Tower Hamlets driven by cash buyers.

Clegg hears Carney's warning on 'Help to Buy' scheme

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told ITV News the government may have to scale back its flagship 'Help to Buy' housing policy.

Nick Clegg said a warning from the Governor of the Bank of England - that booming house prices are a threat to economic recovery - must be heeded.

In comments that appear to contradict Chancellor George Osborne's defence of the programme, Mr Clegg said: "If Mark Carney - in view of his concerns about the housing market - thinks we should scale back on some of those schemes, that's exactly what we should do."

Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship reports.


Carney 'absolutely right' Britain needs more houses

The Bank of England has the powers to prevent a new housing "bubble" developing, the Prime Minister said, after its governor Mark Carney suggested it was the biggest risk to economic recovery.

Prime Minister David Cameron agrees that Britain needs to build more houses. Credit: PA

Speaking to Sky's Murnaghan programme, David Cameron said: "We have given the Bank of England the duty to make sure that bubbles are dealt with in the economy. They have all the powers they need to do that.

"He (Mr Carney) is absolutely right when he says fundamentally we need to build more houses in Britain".

Government's Help to Buy scheme 'unwise'

Mark Carney warned property prices pose a risk to the economy. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

The Government's "unwise" Help to Buy scheme has been criticised amid the Bank of England governor's warnings of a property "boom".

Sam Bowman, research director of the Adam Smith Institute, said: "Mark Carney's comments on house prices are timely and accurate: the house price boom in London, the south-east and the East Midlands is fundamentally down to a lack of housing."

He added that the "supply-side crisis" meant it was up to the Government - not the Bank - to bring prices under control, and called for a rolling back of the green belt to create space for one million homes.

Mr Bowman said that while Help to Buy was "probably too small to make a substantial difference to house prices" it was "inflating demand without increasing supply".

Balls: Interest rates could rise if 'boom' not halted

Labour has committed to building 200,000 homes a year by 2020. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Ed Balls has warned that interest rates may have to rise if the government does not act to ease the current property "boom".

The Shadow Chancellor said: “Mark Carney is right to warn about the risks to our economy of a lop-sided housing market where housing demand hugely outstrips supply.

Mr Balls said the Governor's comments put the ball in George Osborne's court, adding that the Government should cut the Help to Buy limit to £600,000 and introduce an additional "Help to Build scheme".

“Unless the government acts the danger is that the Bank of England will be forced to raise interest rates prematurely.

Help to Buy 'providing desperately needed homes'

The government's controversial Help to Buy scheme is "providing desperately needed homes", the association representing property builders has said.

Home Builders Federation Executive Chairman Stewart Baseley said: "The Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme has supported demand for new build homes and its extension provides certainty about longer-term demand.

Mr Baseley said the scheme is helping the industry "plan ahead, rebuild capacity lost in the downturn and deliver".

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