House prices see record cash rise, says Nationwide…

The cost of a typical UK home rose by a record £29,162 in the last year, according to the Nationwide.

The building society said it was the biggest cash increase in property prices since it started collecting comparable data in 1991.

It pushed up the price of an average UK home to £260,230 in February, it said.

Property values are being driven by continued demand from buyers who are competing for relatively few properties on the market.

The Nationwide, one of the UK’s larger mortgage lenders, said that its data suggested UK house prices had risen by 12.6% in the year to the end of February.

That was an acceleration from the 11.2% annual increase recorded in January.

Significant house price rises are continuing despite a squeeze on household finances caused by the rising cost of domestic energy, petrol and other necessities such as food.

“The continued buoyancy of the housing market is a little surprising, given the mounting pressure on household budgets from rising inflation, which reached a 30-year high of 5.5% in January, and since borrowing costs have started to move up from all-time lows in recent months,” said Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist.

He said the economic outlook was uncertain, although it was likely that the housing market would slow.

Many people reconsidered how they lived and worked during the Covid lockdowns, leading to a race for space among buyers. In recent months, there has been a considerable shortage of homes on the market to match demand, which has pushed up asking prices.

The Nationwide said the price of a typical home was 20% higher than the same month two years ago, just before the start of the pandemic – the equivalent of a £44,000 increase.

Karen Noye, a mortgage expert at wealth managers Quilter, said: “For first-time buyers these increases represent a game of cat and mouse where prospective buyers just manage to save enough for a deposit before the cost of their first home is just out of reach again.”

Myron Jobson, senior personal finance analyst at Interactive Investor, said: “The harsh reality is rising rents, ballooning inflation which continues to outstrip wage growth, and a lack of affordable housing has priced many out of the market.”