House prices in the UK increased by 6.7% in the year to December 2015, down from 7.7% in the year to November 2015, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has stated.
The average UK mix-adjusted house price in December 2015 was £288,000.
Meanwhile, the East (9.7%) saw the largest annual house price increases, followed by London (9.4%) and then the South East (8.8%). Excluding London and the South East, UK house prices increased by 5.1% in the 12 months to December 2015.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, average house prices decreased by 0.2% between November 2015 and December 2015.
In December 2015, prices paid by first-time buyers were 6.4% higher on average than in December 2014. For owner-occupiers (existing owners), prices increased by 6.9% for the same period.
Richard Sexton, director of chartered surveyor e.surv, said: “There seems to be something of a mismatch within the UK housing market at the minute. Mortgage lending remains healthy, reaching its highest peak in nine years in January. A buy-to-let rush to beat April’s stamp duty changes, is part of this story, spurring a notable lending lift.
“Buyers’ prospects appear healthy too. With low inflation, rising employment and wages boosting savings potential, home movers should have more options in the housing stakes and be in a better position to pick and choose. But while lending and personal finances aren’t holding aspiring homeowners back – rising prices certainly are.
“For these price rises to be fully tackled, supply problems need to be confronted. And crucially, more people need to be encouraged to move. Stamp duty costs, lack of stock and higher prices are deterrents to would be purchasers. As result, people are widening their search areas, and seeking out new potential locations – leading to increased popularity in the East and South East. The appeal of these areas will only grow as those locked out of London look elsewhere.”