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England House Prices Hit £300,000 Average don't gamble and get a survey

The cost of a typical home in England has hit a record £300,000 for the first time, according to official figures.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) measured a £1,000 increase in October UK-wide, with values 7% up year-on-year at an £287,000 average.

England has been largely driving the increase - particularly in the East and South East regions, where growth was 10.4% and 9.5% respectively.

The ONS said housing costs in England were up 7.4% on October 2014.

Annual growth was limited to 1% in Wales and 0.9% in Scotland but Northern Ireland's prices surged 10.3% on average to £158,000.

At that price they remain more than 40% below their 2007 peak.

The ONS figures reinforce market commentary that increases in house prices are being driven by the lack of supply versus strong demand.

A recent report by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors pointed to a record shortage in the number of homes being offered for sale last month - with owners reluctant to sell because of few suitable properties and intense competition.

The problem is particularly acute in the south of England - with the construction of new properties still lagging far behind demand tough the Government has pledged more support for buyers and builders to help address this.

Britain's biggest mortgage lender, Halifax, is forecasting house price growth to slow next year as homes become increasingly unaffordable for first-time buyers.

However, Howard Archer - the chief UK economist at IHS Global Insight - said he expected a stampede of buyers to try and beat the Government's plans to impose a 3% stamp duty surcharge on buy-to-let investors from next April.

He feared that would drive costs upwards, saying: "We expect house prices to rise by around 6% to 7% in 2016.

"The shortage of properties poses significant upside risks to these forecasts."