Trending higher: A terrace of residential houses on Lowndes Square, Belgravia, in London. Home values are now above their pre-financial crisis peaks in every region of the UK. ─ Bloomberg THE average price of a home in the United Kingdom has surpassed a quarter of a million pounds for the first time after the housing market defied the coronanvirus crisis to post the biggest jump in more than six years. The 8.5% increase in December from a year earlier was the largest since October 2014 and took the cost of buying a property to £251,500 (US$349,000), according to Land Registry figures published by the Office for National Statistics. While London recorded the smallest increase, the capital city remains by far the most expensive part of the country. Values stood at just below £500,000 after a 1.1% decline from November. The housing boom reflects pent-up demand following the first lockdown in the spring, a temporary tax cut for buyers and an increased preference for family homes with more outside space. This is a shift brought about by changing work patterns during the pandemic. Prices of detached properties increased by 10% during the year. This is double the pace of apartments and maisonettes. House prices overall rose fastest in northwest England. The question is whether the boom can continue after chancellor Rishi Sunak’s stamp-duty holiday expires at the end of next month. Some say the market is heading for a cliff edge. This is despite a survey this week finding house hunters out in force in February although they have little hope of benefiting from the tax break, which saves buyers as much as £15,000. Home values are now above their pre-financial crisis peaks in every region of the UK after the north-east finally crossed the threshold in December, the latest figures show. ─ Bloomberg.
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