UK average house prices have increased by 8.9% in the year to April 2021, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) House Price Index.
This is down from a 9.9% increase in the year to March 2021.
The ONS data found that in the year to April average house prices rose by the greatest margin in Wales, up 15.6% to £185,000.
This was followed by England, up 8.9% to £268,000, Scotland, up 6.3% to £161,000, and Northern Ireland, up 6% to £149,000.
London continued to be the region with the lowest annual growth (3.3%) for the fifth consecutive month.
Conor Murphy, chief executive at Smartr365, said: “While Q1 demand was driven by buyers rushing to complete before the initial deadline for the tax break at the end of the quarter, April demand will have been steered by those looking to complete before the holiday starts to gradually taper from July.
“With reports suggesting that up to 131,000 buyers are set to miss the stamp duty deadline, it is vital that the industry reflects on how mortgage tech can be used to cut inefficiencies in the homebuying process and help as many purchases over the line as possible.
“Powerful sourcing tools, one-click DIPs and digital ID verification are just some of the features that reduce the legwork in the application process, leaving advisors with more time to help the growing number of buyers.
“The positive impact of the stamp duty holiday far outweighs any negative impact of the consequential rise in average property prices.
“The tax break is a powerful initiative as it helps ensure that homeownership remains a viable option for all, rather than just for those who are fortunate enough to rely on gifted deposits.
“The government should certainly consider how it will continue to level the playing field following the end of the initiative in the autumn.”
Nigel Purves, chief executive of Wayhome, added: “As ever, these figures prove what we already knew – house prices in the first half of this year rose, and fast.
“For the next few months though, this data will be playing catch up.
“With the stamp duty holiday coming to an end and other government incentives measures starting to taper off, we’ll soon learn how hard it will be for aspiring homeowners to get onto the ladder in the post-lockdown market.
“Regardless, now is not the time for inaction. The housing market needs to innovate in order to help reluctant renters move into a property which works for them.”Tomer Aboody, director of MT Finance, said: “An 8.9% increase in prices isn’t surprising considering the levels of demand which we have seen over the past year, combined with cheap borrowing rates.“While London has seen the lowest growth, this is impacted by the high property prices in the capital and therefore any growth percentage-wise will be lower than in other parts of of country.
“Questions are being asked as to whether this growth is sustainable, but while sellers are trying their luck and achieving record prices, some buyers are happy to pay slightly over market value in order to secure their dream home.
“We have seen a drop in buy-to-let purchases due to solicitors not having capacity to deal with these and prioritising homeowner purchases before the stamp duty deadline.”