House price growth ticks up, but London sees further falls

House prices nudged up by 1.4% in the year to March, but London suffered further hefty falls, according to official figures.

The latest house price index by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Land Registry and other bodies showed the price of the average UK house lifted to £227,000 in March, up £3,000 on a year earlier.

The increase showed a slight pick-up from the paltry 1% rise seen in the year to February.

But the figures showed differences across the regions once more, with the worst performance seen in London, where prices dropped 1.9% in the year.

This was better than the 2.7% fall in the year to February, though it showed the ongoing pressure on the capital’s property market.

And the ONS said there had been a general slowdown in UK house price growth over the past three years, driven mainly by a slowdown in the South and East of England.

Average prices rose 1.1% in England, with Yorkshire and the Humber showing the highest annual growth, up 3.6% in the year.

This was followed by the West Midlands, with a 3.4% rise, and the East Midlands with a 2.9% increase.

Prices lifted 2.5% in the North West.

Prices fell by 0.8% in the North East, which continues to have the lowest average house price at £123,000.

The South East saw a 0.4% drop, however prices rose 1.3% in the South West.

The data also showed that in Wales, prices rose 3% and were 3.3% higher in Scotland.

Northern Ireland house prices increased by 3.5% over the year and remains the cheapest UK country to purchase a property in, with the average cost of a house at £135,000.

Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent and a former residential chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics), said: “Once again, we are seeing London acting as a drag on the rest of the UK housing market, despite improvements in affordability, almost record-low mortgage rates and unemployment, combined with a shortage of stock.”

John Goodall, chief executive and co-founder of buy-to-let specialist Landbay, added: “Despite this month’s slight uptick, we’ve not seen the ‘spring bounce’ we had hoped to see – UK house price growth has remained subdued so far this year.

“For potential buyers this, combined with sustained wage growth and record low unemployment, means affordability is starting to improve.

“However, transaction volumes remain stagnant in the face of Brexit uncertainty.”