(Bloomberg) — U.K. house prices rose at their strongest annual pace since 2016 last month as Britons’ changing work patterns and a tax reduction on purchases fanned a resurgence.
Average house prices rose 7.3% in September from a year earlier to a record average of 249,870 pounds ($323,000), mortgage lender Halifax said Wednesday. On the month alone, prices gained 1.6%.
Since the lockdown started to be eased in May, a wave of buyers have sought to sell up in urban areas such as London to move to places with bigger yards and more green space.
They’ve been helped by a temporary tax break on home purchases that will expire next year. Prime Minister Boris Johnson signaled more support for the market this week, with a promise of more generous home loans for millions of young first-time buyers.
Real estate agents and economists are unsure how long the upswing can last. Rising unemployment, risk aversion among lenders and a potential resurgence of the virus mean the market may lose momentum in the next few months.
“The release of pent up demand and indeed the stamp duty holiday can only be temporary fillips,” said Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax. “Significant downward pressure on house prices should be expected at some point in the months ahead as the realities of an economic recession are felt ever more keenly.”
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