House prices: Midlands sees biggest rises…

Birmingham skyline

The Midlands saw the fastest growth in house prices over the year to the end of November, official figures show.

Property values grew by 7.2% in the West Midlands and 6.4% in the East Midlands, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

London saw the slowest growth (2.3%) among the English regions.

Separate figures suggested that demand for mortgages had been relatively unaffected by November’s rise in interest rates.

The official bank rate was raised from 0.25% to 0.5%, the first increase since July 2007.

The ONS data showed that the typical home cost £226,000. House prices in the UK increased by 5.1% during the year to the end of November, although this fails to show the wide regional and national variations.

Prices increased by 5.3% in England, compared with a 4.5% rise in Wales, a 3.6% increase in Scotland, and a 6% rise in Northern Ireland over the same period.

Rent paid by tenants to private landlords in Britain rose by 1.2% in the year to December, the ONS also said.

Mortgage data published by UK Finance, which represents the major banks, show that 34,800 mortgages were advanced to first-time buyers in November, a rise of 15% on the same month a year earlier.

The average first-time buyer was aged 30 and had an income of £40,000, it said.

There were 36,200 mortgages advanced to existing homeowners in November, a rise of nearly 17% on the same month a year earlier.