Luton homes a fifth dearer than this time last year
House prices in Luton rose at a faster pace than any other town or city in Britain in 2916.
The Bedfordshire town saw average house prices jump 19.4 per cent over the year — rising from £214,934 to £256,636 by year’s end – well ahead of the 7.5 per cent increase for the UK, according to mortgage lender Halifax.
It means the average Luton householder saw their house earn £42,000 in a year. It has been attributed to the increasing inability of ordinary working families to be able to afford a house in London.
Nine out of the top ten towns and cities with the biggest rises in house prices were all within commuting distance of central London, said Halifax. Estate agent Hamptons International said last month that 74,000 people left London in 2016 to buy a house elsewhere, more than at any point since 2007.
Halifax housing economist Martin Ellis said: “Most of the areas that have seen the biggest house price rises during 2016 are either within close commuting distance of the capital or are in outer London.
“Demand in these areas has risen as substantial property price rises in central London over the last few years have caused increasing numbers of people to seek property in more affordable areas.”
Barking and Dagenham in outer London came top in Rightmove’s list of the unhappiest places to live in 2015 yet in 2016 recorded the second-biggest rise in average house prices, at 18.6 per cent. Dunstable, next door to Luton, was next in the ranking, increasing 17.9 per cent in 2016. Basildon, Tower Hamlets and Watford also saw big jumps in asking prices.
A separate report from Nationwide revealed that for the first time since 2008, annual house price growth in the capital was lower than the UK average. The figure was 3.7 per cent over this year, compared with a 12.5 per cent rise last year.
For the UK as a whole, house prices rose this year by an average of 4.5 per cent according to Nationwide, the same rate of growth as last year. The average house price was £205,898. Nationwide’s chief economist Robert Gardner said: “The story of UK house price growth in 2016 was one of relative stability. Looking ahead to 2017, house price prospects will depend crucially on developments in the wider economy, around which there is a greater degree of uncertainty than usual.
“We continue to think a small gain — around 2 per cent — is more likely than a decline over 2017 as a whole, since low interest rates are expected to help underpin demand while a shortage of homes on the market will continue to provide support for house prices.”