House prices and the future of homes - in graphics
- 10 October 2013
- From the section Business
The UK's housing boom ended in 2008 as the banking crisis and credit crunch bit.
In the subsequent years, sales and prices fell in most areas, leaving some people in negative equity. Many potential buyers found they were unable to get on to the ladder as risk-averse banks rationed their lending.
But 2013 has seen hints of a revival in the housing market, driven in part by signs of the return of first-time buyers.
Transactions have risen but the number of homes for sale has failed to match demand in many areas, pushing up prices.
Annual increases are now at a level not seen for at least three years.
This is an average across the UK, and might not reflect the fact that prices and activity are growing in some major cities - most notably London - but are still falling in some areas.
Increasing prices create a fresh headache for first-time buyers trying to raise the deposit for a home, even though mortgage rates remain at record low levels.
But some fundamental issues remain for the UK housing market that will affect the chances of people being able to buy or sell in the longer term.
Firstly, the UK remains rather obsessed with the idea of borrowing to own a home compared with the rest of Europe.
Ownership levels, for mortgaged properties, are higher than most of the EU with the exception mainly of Scandinavian countries.
Yet there is widespread agreement that there are not enough homes being built to match this demand.
The number of new homes being built and finished fell then stalled during the financial crisis. Only now do builders say it is starting to pick up again, helped in part by government schemes aimed at kick-starting the market.
But the pace of building means the housing stock is not keeping up with population growth.
Looking to the future, properties are going to have fewer people living in them, partly owing to the fact we are living for longer - creating even more of a squeeze for young people hoping to buy a home of their own.