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    UK Property Prices Increased by 9.8% During 2021

    UK house prices rose at a faster rate in 2021 than in any calendar year since 2004, according to the Halifax.

    The mortgage lender said buyers sought more space during lockdown and took advantage of low-cost borrowing and stamp duty holidays.

    Prices increased by 9.8% during 2021, it said – the fastest for any calendar year since a 12.5% rise in 2004.

    The average UK property price hit a new record high of £276,091 in December, it added.

    In cash terms, that was a £24,000 rise in the cost of the typical home over the course of the year.

    However, growth is expected to slow this year due to higher mortgage rates and a squeeze on household incomes.

    The UK’s housing market “defied expectations” last year, said Russell Galley, managing director at the Halifax.

    “In 2021 we saw the average house price reach new record highs on eight occasions, despite the UK being subject to a ‘lockdown’ for much of the first six months of the year,” he said.

    “The lack of spending opportunities afforded to people while restrictions were in place helped boost household cash reserves.

    “This factor, alongside the stamp duty holiday and the race for space as a result of homeworking, will have encouraged buyers to bring forward home purchases they’d maybe planned for this year.”

    However, he added: “Looking ahead, the prospect that interest rates may rise further this year to tackle rising inflation and increasing pressures on household budgets suggest house price growth will slow considerably.”

    Lucian Cook, head of residential research at estate agency Savills, said UK housing remained a “strong sellers’ market”, particularly for family homes.

    “There is an expectation the market will slow. We don’t see the triggers for a price correction. From an economic perspective, unemployment was the big risk in that respect and that looks to have been contained,” he told the BBC’s Today programme.

    Other agents have reported continued demand from buyers, despite January traditionally being a quiet time of the year for the sector.

    That competition will continue to make things difficult for first-time buyers who may have a tighter budget owing to limits on how much they can offer as a deposit and therefore restrictions on what they can borrow from mortgage lenders.

    Surveys, and official figures, show the biggest house price rises in 2021 were generally outside of London, with notable demand in coastal and rural areas.

    Source: BBC