House price figures ‘show split between London and South East and rest of UK’

House prices rose by 1.4% annually across the UK in April, with the subdued pace of growth being mainly driven by southern England while there were stronger increases elsewhere, according to an official report.

The average UK house price was £229,000 in April, according to the figures released jointly by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Land Registry and other bodies.

Property values increased by 0.7% month on month.

The weakest annual growth was in London, where prices fell by 1.2% over the year. In the South East, prices fell by 0.8%.

By contrast, house prices in Wales increased by 6.7% annually.

House prices increased annually by 1.1% in England, 1.6% in Scotland and 3.5% in Northern Ireland.

In England, the East Midlands saw the strongest annual house price growth in April, with a 2.9% increase, followed by the North West, with prices up by 2.6%.

ONS head of inflation Mike Hardie said: “Annual house price growth remained subdued but was strong in Wales, which showed a pronounced increase on the month.

“In London, house prices continued to fall over the year but rental price growth there strengthened.”

Jamie Durham, an economist at PwC, said: “The house price growth story is split between the South East and the rest of the country… While prices are falling in the South East, prices elsewhere are growing.”

Howard Archer, chief economic adviser at the EY Item Club, said: “The ONS data do little to change the overall impression that the housing market is still finding life challenging as buyer caution amid still relatively challenging conditions is being reinforced by Brexit, political and economic uncertainties – although there are significant variations across regions with the overall picture being dragged down by the weakness in London and the South East.”

Jonathan Harris, director of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said: “There is still a significant premium to pay to buy property in London and the South East, with first-time buyers increasingly having to call upon the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ for help with the deposit.”

Gareth Lewis, commercial director of property lender MT Finance, said: “House price growth is picking up outside of London and the South East, which is encouraging as it creates more balance to the country as a whole, although London prices still remain at a premium.

“Hotspots for investors include Middlesbrough, Nottingham, Newcastle and university areas, where the transactional flow has greatly increased as investors chase yield.

“Values are therefore creeping up in response to greater demand for property in those areas.”

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