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Average UK house prices rose by 8.5% in the year to December and Wales recorded the highest increase of 10.7% according to the House Price Index released by the Office for National Statistics today.

The average price of a house in Wales during this period rose to £184,000 whilst average property prices in England were £269,000, Scotland £163,000 and Northern Ireland £148,000.

AJ passport Providing her thoughts on Wales having the highest average rise in house prices, Alison Jarman, director of Smooth Moves Property Agents in Newport explained,

“I can only comment on the geographical area we work in and the south east Wales region is still experiencing an increase in the number of people from across the border seeking more affordable family and starter homes to both buy and rent. The M4 corridor between Chepstow and Newport is particularly popular with demand for sales and rental properties in many of the towns such as Caldicot, Magor, Rogiet and Chepstow higher than ever before.”

Larger houses with gardens have become more popular over the past 12 months. Continuing Alison said,

“Although the whole of the UK has remained in lockdown for large parts of 2020, the housing market remained active both for sales and lettings. Demand for larger properties with gardens and additional space which can be converted into home offices rose. I think the whole experience has helped businesses and individuals to realise that working from home is a viable option for many and they are seeking properties to enable them to do this.”

Commenting on how the property market will perform in 2021, Alison said,

“We are waiting to see if there are extensions to the current Land Transaction Tax and Stamp Duty Tax holidays which have driven demand but are due to cease at the end of March. There are rumours that these could be extended which will come at a time when many people will be reassessing their needs and priorities as the pandemic finally recedes. Moving house will be easier when we are out of lockdown, so we expect that after a short pause around the end of the tax holidays the market will return to a high level of activity with further price rises, especially for the larger and less urban homes that are now in high demand.”