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House prices grew by 10% to £254,624 in the year to May, up from 9.6% the previous month, according to the Office for National Statistics and Land Registry index.

Month-on-month growth also increased to 0.9%, from 0.5% April.

Rises were steepest in the North West where they climbed 15.2% to £189,245.

The lowest annual growth was in London, where prices increased by 5.2% to £497,948.

At a country level, Wales recorded the strongest year-on-year growth with prices up by 13.3% to £184,297.

Scotland saw house prices increase by 12.1% to £171,448 and England saw them rise by 9.7% to £271,434.

In Northern Ireland, which only has quarterly data and not monthly figures, prices rose by 6% in Q1 compared to a year earlier, with average prices reaching £149,178.

Carl Summers Financial Services mortgage broker Scott Taylor-Barr says: “The stamp duty holiday drove annual price growth into double digit territory in May.

“There was a mad rush of people trying to complete before the end of June to secure the valuable savings on offer.

“July has already seen a marked drop in activity levels, as for many the stamp duty boat has now sailed.

“Moving forward, I think we’ll see a cooling of the housing market, with prices plateauing. This may be no bad thing after the price rises of the past year.”

Thomas Honour Mortgage Services director Thomas Honour says: “Activity has cooled somewhat in recent weeks with many potential sellers holding firm to see what happens with house prices before going on the market.

“It’s unlikely house prices will fall back to pre-stamp duty holiday levels any time soon, due to demand sharply outstripping supply.”

Langley House Mortgages co-founder Robert Payne says: “It appears that the stamp duty holiday was more of an added bonus to an already buoyant market rather than the driving force, as there is still an abundance of buyers out there.

“Perhaps the impact of Covid is the main driver behind increased demand as more people work from home and there’s less of a need to live close to cities.

“We have seen a number of Londoners relocating to the South West to take advantage of cheaper house prices and a slower pace of life.”

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