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Even middle-income families will effectively be frozen out of a frenzied property market that is increasingly the preserve of the rich.

The average annual gain over the next five years will be around six per cent, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

A chronic shortage of homes for sale – combined with high stamp duty – means some owners are unwilling to move for fear of not finding a new place.

This in turn cuts the number of properties coming on to the market.

The report from RICS, which is published today, says house prices will rise everywhere over the next five years, from 2 per cent a year in the North to 9.3 per cent a year in London.

That would put the cost of the average London home at £570,000 in 2020. The figure for the South East would be £315,000 and for the South West £280,000.

The cheapest homes would be in the North (£132,000) and North West (£165,000). Among reasons cited for the property boom are low interest rates, population growth, lack of house-building and the Government’s Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme.

Homeowners now typically move once every 22 years, compared with once every eight years in the 1980s, according to property firm Hometrack.

The RICS report says a housing market recovery is ‘well and truly under way’ in Britain, but warned of a dangerous imbalance between supply and demand.


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