House price growth picks up after seven-year low

Annual house price growth accelerated in August from a previous near seven-year low, official figures show.

Across the UK, property values increased by 1.3% in the year to August, up from 0.8% in July, reaching £235,000 on average.

July’s increase was the lowest since late 2012.

But the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which released the figures jointly with the Land Registry, said annual growth was still lower than a year earlier when it was 2.7%.

In London, prices fell by 1.4% year-on-year, but there were signs that prices in inner London were firming up.

Prices in inner London, which includes boroughs such as Camden, Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea and Hackney, were down 1% year-on-year in August, but this was the least weak reading so far this year.

Across the UK, year-on-year price growth in August was 4.5% in Wales, 1.6% in Scotland, 1.1% in England and 3.5% in Northern Ireland.

In England, the North East was the region with the highest annual price growth, increasing 3.3% in the year to August. This was followed by the North West, where prices lifted by 3.1%.

Howard Archer, chief economic adviser at EY ITEM Club, said that despite the pick-up in August, “we strongly suspect that house prices will remain soft in the near term with the economy largely struggling and the outlook highly uncertain”.

He continued: “If the UK leaves the EU without a deal on October 31 – or at a later date – we believe house prices could quickly sink and drop around 5%.”

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