DATA released by the Halifax has said that property values have risen by 6.5% since June which it describes as the “strongest five monthly gain since 2004“.

It speculates that this has been fuelled partly by buyers rushing to take advantage of the current stamp duty holiday as well as some people relocating from cities to more rural areas, smaller towns and seaside areas.

This means that house prices in November were 7.6% higher than in the same month in 2019.

The typical property price has risen by more than £15,000 since the end of June and now stands at £253,243

If anybody thinks that this is good news, it is not.

Yes, some people will cash in but for the vast majority of people who are struggling to get onto the housing ladder, this takes first time buying further beyond their reach.

There will be a consequential increase in the cost of renting as well.

Various initiatives by government are also leading to the fuelling of house price increases and the main people to benefit from this are property speculators and developers.

What a sad way to start 2020 after a year filled with unimaginable challenges but little by way of hope for people who are homeless, in rented accommodation, living in overcrowded accommodation,  or who are already priced out of the local housing market.

By Andy Winter, who is chief executive of Brighton Housing Trust which runs an advice centre in Eastbourne.