Brian Murphy, head of lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB), comments:
“Today’s figures make it clear that we are faced with a two-speed housing market – not just because prices in London are racing ahead of the rest of the UK, but also because first-time buyers and existing owners are competing on an uneven playing field.
“While the annual growth of prices paid by home movers slowed at the end of 2013 , the opposite was true for first time buyers who paid 7.4% more in December than a year before . The uplift in prices can make or break homeowning ambitions, especially for those aspiring buyers who are juggling rental payments with saving for a deposit. Lenders are coming to the rescue with an increasingly flexible range of mortgages, and these figures show just how important it is that government and lenders keep extending a helping hand to lift people over that initial hurdle.
“It is also interesting that prices paid for new build properties were unchanged from December 2012 to December 2013, while pre-owned homes saw 5.8% annual price growth. It’s a great time to seek a buyer if you already own property, but for first-timers, the availability of Help to Buy equity loans can make new builds an attractive proposition. There is certainly no sign that the scheme is pushing the prices of newly built houses out of reach.”