House prices ended last year £12,000 higher on average than they had been 12 months earlier, according to official figures. The average UK house price was £227,000 in December 2017, which was £12,000 higher than in December 2016, an index released jointly by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Land Registry and other bodies said.
Annual house price growth accelerated to 5.2 per cent in December, from 5 per cent in November. On a month-on-month basis, house prices increased by 0.4 per cent in December. Annual house price growth in December stood at 5 per cent in England, 5.4 per cent in Wales, 7.7 per cent in Scotland and 4.3 per cent in Northern Ireland. Within the English regions, the South West showed the highest annual growth, with prices increasing by 7.5 per cent in the year to December 2017. The lowest annual growth was in London, where prices increased by 2.5 per cent over the year.
Across the UK generally, the local authority showing the largest annual growth in the year to December 2017 in the study was the Orkney Islands, where prices increased by 18.2 per cent to stand at £147,000 on average. The lowest annual growth was recorded in Kensington and Chelsea, where prices fell by 10.7 per cent to stand at £1.2 million on average - although the London borough still has the highest average house prices. The least expensive place to buy a property is Burnley in Lancashire, where the average house price is £78,000. The report cautioned that low sales numbers in some local authority areas can lead to volatility in the house price growth figures.
Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent and a former residential chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics), said: "The increase in prices for December, albeit at a slowing pace, reflects more the shortage of available property to buy at that time rather than market strength or otherwise, as transaction numbers were relatively low.
"Since December we have noticed more balance with a slower increase in instructions and viewings as we would expect at this time of year, although some buyer caution is likely to remain until the market finds its new level this year."
Howard Archer, chief economic adviser at the EY Item Club, said the latest survey evidence also points to "lacklustre housing market activity" in early 2018.
He said: "House-buyers will also likely be concerned about further interest rate hikes in 2018 following November's first tightening of monetary policy by the Bank of England since 2007." OU'VE finally got your lounge looking lovely - now the challenge is to keep it that way.
But homes aren't just for show, they're for living in, which means spillages and scuffs will happen, and those beautiful, brand-new covers and carpets will eventually get grimy. After all, what's the point spending ages hunting down your dream sofa, if you can't drape yourself over it with a smooth glass of red after a busy week? And why bother indulging in that extra fluffy rug if you're not going to sit on it for Friday-night movie marathons?
Instead, there are things you can do to help tackle stains, marks and general filth build-up. Add these expert tips to your list of spills and stain solutions... with a homemade remedy might be useful. We've all heard about chucking white wine on top of a red wine spillage... the jury's out on how effective this really is, but lots of people swear by using baking soda, or a baking soda paste (mix three-parts baking soda with one-part water. Apply to the affected area and leave to dry and 'suck' up the offending spillage, then vacuum it up - hopefully lifting the stain in the process). Another method is to mix a tablespoon of liquid dishwashing detergent with a tablespoon of white vinegar and two cups of warm water. Then apply this to a clean cloth and repeatedly blot the stain, alternating with a separate dry cloth, until the stain lifts. a specialist store to ask for advice.
The same applies when using substances that might seem completely harmless, like water. "Many people think using water to clean their carpets will mean fresh, bright floors, but over time, the repeated wet cleaning can wash out wool's natural waterproofing, resulting in the carpet acquiring a hard, crusty feel," says Peter Hollier, a cleaning expert with home appliance manufacturer Vorwerk, who sell a range of products designed to make light work of deep-cleaning your home (kobold.vorwerk. co.uk).
"Water can also cause the carpet fibres to shrink and stretch and the dye to bleed, leaving a less-than-luxurious finish. So, if you are going to clean your carpets with water, it's important you don't use too much and you dry the carpet quickly."