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Has the pandemic created a two-track housing market?

The UK housing market has had problems with accessibility and affordability for over a decade. Laura Miller surveys how the pandemic is reforming the divide.

Since the end of the Spring lockdown the housing market has boomed. Rising for the third consecutive month in September on the Halifax House Price Index, the average home in England and Wales now costs just shy of £250,000, a startling 7.3% higher than a year ago – the strongest growth since June 2016. 

The increase is aggravating pre-Covid affordability problems, and now banks are refusing to lend to less wealthy borrowers, fearing house price sustainability, economic worry and default risks.