According to recent data, the average cost of a home in the UK surged by 0.9% in December to reach £250,000.
On the year house prices were 5.5 per cent higher, and in the last two years property values have climbed by an average of £36,000.
Official figures compiled by the Office for National Statistics have also shown that with home prices at current levels the stamp duty on a typical property purchase stands at a whopping £7,500.
Government incentives like the Funding for Lending Scheme can be considered as partially responsible for the price rises, but rocketing property values in London and a widening demand/supply gap have had the most influence.
In the British capital, house prices ended 2013 averaging at £450,000 – 12.3% higher than they began.
In a statement issued with the figures the ONS asserted; “House price growth is beginning to increase strongly across parts of the UK, with prices in London increasing at more than double the UK average.”
Meanwhile, the chief executive of housing charity Shelter had this to say of the result; “Until we build enough homes to keep house prices stable, more young people and families desperate to put down roots will see a home of their own become a distant dream. Schemes like Help to Buy [a Government backed measure] are only making the problem worse by inflating house prices further.”
Although some industry experts are concerned that the soaring prices are indicative of a potential housing bubble, others believe they are another sign that the UK is enjoying a broad-based, if gradual, economic recovery.
While these price hikes are good news for people looking to sell their properties, it’s a very different story for first time buyers and expatriates looking to return to the UK.
For both these demographics, the increase in house prices mean that many of them are on the verge of being priced out of the market.
Some UK expats have even made the decision to return to the UK early on the basis that they want to get on the property ladder before prices climb any further.
If you’re one of the thousands of UK expats living overseas and thinking of investing in UK property, you could get considerably more for your money if you used a foreign currency broker to handle your exchange.
Unlike most banks currency brokers don’t charge transfer fees or commission, and as they’re able to secure you a more competitive exchange rate (often beating those offered by the bank by over 3%) you could save thousands when transferring the type of sums involved in a typical property purchase.
Similarly, if you own a property overseas and need to make mortgage payments, using the Regular Overseas Payment service offered by some currency brokers could be far more convenient and cost effective than using your bank.
With some economists forecasting that UK house prices could rise by a further 8% this year, getting back on the British property ladder could be far more achievable with the help of a currency broker.