House prices growing at fastest rate since 2004

The growth figures mask a two-speed market. Wealthy homeowners who have cash in their properties and have been largely unaffected by the pandemic are driving the boom. Meanwhile first-time buyers, many of whom have been unable to get mortgages since providers tightened restrictions, have been cut out of the market.

Year-on-year price inflation for home-movers in November was 7.9pc, compared to just 5.8pc for first-time buyers.

Anna Clare Harper, of asset manager SPI Capital, said there was an increasing number of “anomalies” in the market. 

The figures did not reflect issues such as the cladding regulations that have been brought in in the wake of the 2017 Grenfell fire, Ms Harper said. “Hundreds of thousands of homeowners have found the value of their properties to be dramatically reduced, often with terrible personal consequences,” she added.

Many of these affected homeowners are simply unable to sell. This means the falling values of these homes does not affect the national price statistics.

While first-time buyers have struggled to take out mortgages in recent months, there are signs that the market is slowly improving. A separate report by Moneyfacts, an industry analyst, found mortgage availability has increased for the second successive month.

The firm said that 378 new deals had launched in the last month. This is the highest percentage increase since November 2014, albeit from a low base.

The number of 90pc mortgages has grown from 56 to 88 since the start of November, as lenders including TSB and Yorkshire Building Society returned to the market. Eleanor Williams, of Moneyfacts, said other lenders could follow suit and launch 90pc deals in the coming weeks.

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