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Southern regions 'outperforming' rest of UK in housing

The gap between property prices in London and the rest of the UK "is the widest it has ever been" with southern regions "outperforming" other areas for some time, Nationwide's chief economist said.

The gap between house prices in London and the rest of the UK is the widest it's ever been, both in cash and percentage terms.

Overall, the southern regions have been outperforming for some time, with the result that house prices in London, the Outer Metropolitan and Outer South East have now surpassed their pre-crisis peaks.

Similarly, East Anglia and the South West are less than 5% below their 2007 highs.

– Robert Gardner, Nationwide's chief economist

Read: Property price gap reaches record level

Property price gap reaches record level

The gap between property values in London and those in the rest of the UK has leapt to the largest levels on record after house prices in the capital leapt by 18.2%, building society Nationwide said.

Property prices between the capital and rest of UK has reached a record level. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Prices rose by 9.5% year-on-year across the UK, which is the biggest jump in around four years and takes the typical property value to £180,264, the report said.

Despite property values rising by 0.4% on the previous month across the country, they are still around 3% below their 2007 peak.

However, southern regions in particular are recording "the most rapid" gains in property values with prices in the Outer South East areas up by 10.1% year-on-year, reaching £217,534 on average, while those in the Outer Metropolitan areas rose by 10.6% to around £273,998.

The annual rate of price growth in London is at its strongest since 2003 with the typical house price in the capital at £362,699 - one-fifth (20%) higher than its 2007 peak.

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Half of Brits 'cannot afford' to buy home in local area

Half of British adults (50%) say that they could not currently afford to buy a property in their local area according to a ComRes poll for ITV News.

When asked if they could not currently afford to buy a property in their local area, 36% did not agree and 14% did not know.

Half of Brits 'cannot afford' to buy home in local area.
Half of Brits 'cannot afford' to buy home in local area. Credit: Rebekah Downes/PA Wire

The poll showed those in Wales felt they were the least likely to be able to buy a local property with 60% of respondents agreeing they could not afford to buy, higher than 59% in London.

Some 2,039 people were surveyed by ComRes.

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CAB: More homeowners at risk of losing property

The number of people who face losing their home is on the rise despite the improving economy, a community charity has warned.

Read: Home ownership drops by 340,000 in the last decade

Housing
Homeowners are still facing an uncertain future because of the lack of affordable housing, the CAB said. Credit: PA

Read: Payday loans 'used to fund rent and mortgages'

The Citizen's Advice Bureau (CAB) said it dealt with 87,000 social housing rent arrears queries last year - a 10% increase on 2012.

The charity said below-inflation wage rises, a lack of affordable housing and welfare reforms have piled the pressure on people's finances, even though the wider economic situation is picking up.

CAB Gillian Guy, said: "The steep rise in arrears, possession orders and help with housing debt suggests thousands cannot make ends meet and need help to keep a roof over their head.

"An urgent commitment to sorting out our woefully inadequate stock of affordable housing would help the supply of homes start to catch up with demand."

Read: Personal debt in Britain £1.4tn

Over 17,000 homes bought under Help to Buy scheme

More than 17,000 homes have been bought under the Government's Help to Buy scheme, according to the latest official figures.

David Cameron says the Help to Buy scheme will give thousands independence and security Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

The vast majority (80%) have been bought by first time buyers, while 77% have been purchased outside of London and the South East.

The figures were released today by Downing Street, just days after George Osborne announced it was to be extended until 2020 with a £6 billion boost in the budget to help an estimated 120,000 more households purchase a new-build home.

Nearly '£500m in housing benefits wrongly paid out'

Nearly £500 million in housing benefits has been wrongly paid out and not recovered since the Coalition was formed, according to The Telegraph.

The "cumulative amount of outstanding housing benefit overpayments" have increased from £843 million to £1.32 billion between April 2010 and September 2013, the Government said.

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Rachel Reeves. Credit: PA

Speaking to the newspaper, shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Rachel Reeves said: “It’s staggering that when families are facing a cost-of-living crisis, the amount of Housing Benefit which is overpaid has gone up under David Cameron’s government to £1.3 billion.”

A Work and Pensions spokesman responded: “Last year the DWP and councils recovered almost £1 billion of benefit overpayments - but any amount of money lost to the taxpayer is too much and more work is needed."

Balls: Cut back Help to Buy amid interest rate fears

The Government's programme of taxpayer-funded support for first-time home buyers should be cut back amid fears rising house prices could push up interest rates, shadow chancellor Ed Balls has said.

Ed Miliband (left), Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls (right) and Shadow Secretary for Work and Pensions Rachel Reeves. Credit: ustin Tallis/PA Wire/Press Association Images

In an interview with The Guardian, Mr Balls said the unbalanced nature of the housing market risked choking off Britain's economic recovery.

He called on Chancellor George Osborne to reduce the maximum size of a mortgage that qualifies for support under the Help to Buy scheme from £600,000 to £400,000 - with regional caps to reflect the vastly higher prices in London and the South East.

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