House prices rise sharply across the UK
There has been a sharp rise in house prices across the UK, with the North West of England seeing an annual increase of 15% to May.
The North East of England, Scotland, and Wales also saw a rapid rise in property prices.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that the average cost of a home in the UK rose to £255,000 in May - a £23,000 rise from a year earlier.
The overall rise of 10% is the fastest that has been recorded for the last 14 years.
Land Registry data in England and Wales show that detached and terraced homes recorded the biggest increases in price.
Estate agents have seen a huge spike in demand from property buyers, with many wanting to complete their purchases before the end of the stamp duty holiday.
Scotland’s property tax was withdrawn in March, buoying demand further.
Rising prices have also been attributed to the lack of new homes being put on the market, as well as the pandemic causing people to change their priorities regarding where they live and work.
In a recent survey, the majority of Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) members believed that prices will continue to rise over the next year.
Director at mortgage broker Clearpoint Finance, Katie Cave, said: "The market was being powered by ultra-low mortgage rates, valuable stamp duty savings and people rethinking what they want from their homes due to the pandemic.
"Demand was as rampant as supply was weak, which sent prices skywards."
The North West had the highest annual growth in house prices with prices rising by 15.2% on average. Wales, Scotland, and the North East of England all saw prices of 13.3%, 12.1%, and 11.8% respectively.
London had the lowest rise in prices over the year, with prices climbing just 5.2%.
Managing director of Ascend Properties, Ged McPartlin, said: "It's clear that the north-south divide has never been wider.
"While this momentous rate of price growth must inevitably slow at some point, we expect this vast difference in property pedigree to remain as buyers in the north continue to benefit from a far more affordable market with, or without, the benefit of a stamp duty saving."