The return-to-work fuels record house prices – ONS HPI reaction

Search AcumenBy Legal Futures Associate Search Acumen

  • UK average house prices hit a record high of £270,000, an increase of 11.8% over the year to September 2021, up from 10.2% in August.
  • The average UK house price as of September is £28,000 higher than this time last year.

Andy Sommerville, Director at Search Acumen, says: “As the world adjusts to post-pandemic realities, we are seeing some of the biggest shifts in how people live and work for a generation. As the labour market continues to make choices about how it incorporates flexible working with many offices now open again, this allows workers to make their own choices about where they want to live, perpetuating demand in the housing market and driving pricing. As more people return to the office in some capacity, this is specifically fuelling demand in employment centres and surrounding commuter belts.

“These dynamics are born out in these latest figures which show that, even without the incentive of stamp duty savings, the market continues to serve up record house prices as these societal changes play out over the long term. These record prices have been partially fuelled by a “back to the office” mindset that intensified in September along with the fact that the Autumn is often seen as a time for renewed energy as children go back to school and holidays come to an end. This usual Autumn effect was just as present in the property market this year, while pricing also continues to be supported the long-standing imbalance between supply of homes coming into the market compared with continued high levels of demand.

“Post pandemic changes in working and lifestyle patterns are likely to play out over the long term, which means property professionals are expected to be busy for the foreseeable future. In this environment, we need to embrace the innovation that we have seen during the pandemic. By taking advantages of the efficiencies, we can leverage through technology and data, property transactions can be transformed, with untold benefits for businesses but also the professionals and their clients.”


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