Housing hype

House prices are on the rise again and at the fastest rate since June 2007, according to the Nationwide. In June 2007, the average house price was £184,070, which did prevent many first-time buyers from getting on to the property ladder. Enter the recession. Over the past two and a half years, house prices have fluctuated considerably. Land Registry data shows that the average house price in April 2009 had fallen to £152,657, which gave first time buyers more of a chance, but at the same time mortgage lending fell and many lenders required a 25% deposit, which again ruled out many purchasers. Gradual increases in the latter part of 2009 and the beginning of 2010 have seen the average price rise to £164,455 (£167,802 according to Nationwide) and the trend looks unlikely to reverse, although it should stabilise.

Behind these changing prices is a story of demand and supply and the importance of expectations. As the credit crunch began and house prices began to fall, those looking to sell wanted to do so before prices fell further, while those looking to buy were expecting prices to fall further and so had an incentive to delay their purchase. In recent months, however, the demand for houses has out-stripped supply and it is this that has contributed to rising prices. At the same time, the stamp duty holiday that ended in December 2009 was re-introduced in the 2010 Budget and mortgage approvals have begun to increase. All of this has led to annual house price inflation of 10.5% by April 2010.


House price inflation hits 10.5%, says the Nationwide BBC News (29/4/10)
House price rise reaches double digits, finds Nationwide Telegraph, Myra Butterworth (29/4/10)
House price growth hits three-year high Times Online (29/4/10)
Taylor Wimpey says house prices rise 9pc Telegraph (29/4/10)
Bringing down the house price Guardian (27/4/10)


House Price Data Nationwide
April 2010 Press release Nationwide
Halifax House Price Index site Lloyds Banking Group
(see especially the link to historical house price data)
House Price Index site Land Registry


  1. Using a diagram, explain why house prices fell towards the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009.
  2. Using your diagram above, now illustrate why house prices have begun to increase.
  3. Is the demand and supply of houses likely to be price elastic or inelastic? How does this affect your diagrams from questions 1 and 2?
  4. Why is the upward trend expected to stabilise during the latter part of 2010?
  5. To what extent has the stamp duty holiday affected house prices?
  6. Has the recession had an impact on equality in the UK economy?
  7. Will rising house prices contribute to economic recovery. Explain why or why not.