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The property market across the Midlands is helping average UK house prices to maintain healthy springtime gains, figures reveal today.
The average UK price increased by 1.3 per cent in March, which was the same rate as the same month last year when buy-to-let investors were rushing to snap up properties ahead of a tax crackdown.
It was also the biggest March increase in property values since 2007, according to the Rightmove house price index. But the annual growth rate is down to 2.3 per cent, compared to 7.6 per cent in March 2016.
The Midlands saw the strongest increases, with prices in both West and East going up 2.1 monthly and the East Midlands showing a hefty annual rise of 5.7 per cent.
Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst said that the 1.3 per cent March uplift was ‘an indicator of a shortage of suitable property for sale in many parts of the country’.
Brian Murphy, Head of Lending for Mortgage Advice Bureau said that Rightmove reports trends on asking prices, rather than completed transactions, and 'therefore gives us a current "temperature check" of the UK housing market and sentiment'.
'The data suggests an average month on month increase of 1.3 per cent on properties coming to the market, suggesting that consumer confidence and demand in bricks and mortar, coupled with a paucity of stock in many towns and cities, is leading to asking prices remaining steady if not increasing in some areas, most notably the East and West Midlands,' he added.
The price of property coming to the market in the East Midlands is at a record high, breaking through the £200,000 barrier for the first time to £200,620.
The affordability crisis afflicting Britain's homebuyers was thrown into relief at the weekend by official figures that showed workers typically have to pay almost eight times their annual salary to buy a home.
A typical property costs 7.6 times average earnings in England and Wales, the Office for National Statistics said - making buying a house less affordable than at any time in the past 20 years.
The figure, based on a property costing £215,000 and a salary of £28,336, underlines how home ownership has moved further out of reach for many dreaming of getting on to the property ladder as house prices have continued to outpace wages.
When the ONS started collecting this data 20 years ago the multiple was 3.6 times salary, with workers typically earning £16,885 and an average house costing £59,950.
In 2007, before the housing market collapsed, buyers faced paying 7.2 times their earnings on a property. But the strong recovery in house prices and stagnant wages meant that this was surpassed in 2015 when the multiple reached 7.4 times.
The ONS said that while the average price paid for a home in England and Wales increased by 259 per cent between 1997 and 2016, average annual earnings have increased by only 68 per cent.