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UK house prices see highest monthly rise since 2004 as property boom continues

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A woman stops to look in the window of an estate agent in Islington, north London. Photo: Paul Hackett/Reuters
A woman stops to look in the window of an estate agent in Islington, north London. Photo: Paul Hackett/Reuters

Britain's property boom has no signs of letting up as new figures showed April saw the highest monthly rise in average UK house prices in 17 years.

According to the latest Nationwide house price index annual house price growth rebounded to 7.1% in April, from 5.7% in March.

The average price this month stood at £238,831 ($332,300). This was up 2.1% compared to March and up £15,916 over the past 12 months.

Nationwide's data covers the period UK chancellor Rishi Sunak extended the tax break until June, as well as a new 95% mortgage guarantee scheme to help those with a 5% deposit get on the property ladder.

Experts say the pick up in house prices is being fuelled by the stamp duty holiday and demand for more space as the nation works from home and kids are home-schooled.

"Our research suggests that while the stamp duty holiday is impacting the timing of housing transactions, for most people it is not the key motivating factor prompting them to move in the first place," said Nationwide chief economist Robert Gardner.

Image: Nationwide House Price Index
Image: Nationwide House Price Index

Managing director of Barrows and Forrester, James Forrester said the renewal of the stamp duty deadline "turbocharged a property market that was already firing on all cylinders."

"As a result, we’re seeing some remarkable levels of price growth driven by heightened buyer demand and with no end in sight until September at the earliest, we can expect house prices to continue climbing."

But, surging demand is "underpinning hefty price gains", according to Pantheon Macroeconomics.

"An increase in new housing supply and a reassessment by households of their spending priorities as the virus recedes also likely will undermine demand by year-end," said Samuel Tombs, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

"The upshot is that we doubt house prices will be materially higher at the end of this year than at present."

Watch: What do stamp duty holiday mean for buyers and house prices?

READ MORE: Red hot market: UK house prices rise at fastest rate since 2014

The latest data follows similar trends in the wider housing markets.

Official figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show UK house prices hit record highs and property transactions soared at the start of the year.

ONS said the average UK house prices increased by 8.6% in the year to February — the highest annual growth rate since October 2014.

The average house price was £250,000 ($347,400) in February 2021, which was £20,000 higher than February last year. The average home price now stands at a record high of £268,000.

While the coronavirus pandemic has had minimal impact on the housing market, as people spend more on housing due to changing needs, the "honeymoon" phase is expected to come to an end.

Looking ahead, Gardner cautioned the outlook for the market is far more uncertain. He said: "If unemployment rises sharply towards the end of the year as most analysts expect, there is scope for activity to slow, perhaps sharply."

Guy Harrington, CEO of residential lender Glenhawk: "The honeymoon won’t go on forever, and the longer the current unsustainable levels of house price growth continues, the sharper and more painful the eventual correction will be."

"The stamp duty holiday and higher household savings because of the restrictions might paint a positive picture till Autumn, but we will see reality set in once the support schemes end and the scale of slowdown then might catch many by surprise.”

WATCH:How much money do I need to buy a house?

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