Annual house price growth across the UK picked up to an average of 1.4% in March, which is up from 1.0% in the previous month, according to the latest House Price Index from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
However, over the last three years, there has been a general slowdown in house price growth, driven mainly by declines in the south and east of England.
The lowest annual house price growth in March was recorded in London, where the average property value dropped by 1.9% over the year, which is up from -2.7% in February.
Across the UK, the average house price was £227,000 in March. This was £3,000 higher than in the same month of last year.
In England, the typical property value stood at £243,000 in March, following a 1.1% rise in the year to March, which was up slightly from 1.0% in February. House prices in Scotland increased by an average of 3.3% over the same period – up from just 0.5% in February – to reach £149,000. House price growth in Wales averaged 3.0% in the year to March, which is down from 3.6% in February, taking the typical property value to £159,000.
House prices in Northern Ireland rose by an average of 3.5% in the year to the first quarter (Q1) of 2019. It remains the cheapest UK country to purchase a property, at £135,000.
Across the English regions, Yorkshire and the Humber recorded the highest annual house price growth in March, at an average of 3.6%. The West Midlands followed, at 3.4%.
The lowest annual growth was seen in London, where prices fell by an average of 1.9% in the 12 months to March. The North East followed, with a decline of 0.8% over the same period.
While house prices in the capital fell over the year, the region remains the most expensive area to purchase a property in England, at £463,000, followed by the South East and East of England, at £318,000 and £287,000 respectively.
The North East continued to record the lowest average house price, at £123,000, and is the only English region yet to surpass its pre-economic downturn peak.
John Goodall, the CEO and Co-Founder of buy-to-let specialist Landbay, says: “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, and so the role of the private rental sector remains as important as ever. Until we have some clarity, the market is unlikely to pick up, so all eyes are on October to provide some certainty to buyers and sellers alike.”
Lucy Pendleton, the Founder Director of independent estate agent James Pendleton, also comments: “Continued price declines in the capital are helping to paint England as the sick man of the UK, with house prices in Scotland and Wales still accelerating way ahead of inflation.
“The silver lining is that this could be a real boost for transactions, as buyers step back into the fray, though it will take a bit more persistent declines for us to see anything resembling a whirlwind of activity. Even though it’s a zero-sum game for most, buyers are still hesitant and have a tendency to wait for markets to level off before pressing on with a move.
“London is also not the blueprint for the whole country, as a very different story is being told everywhere else.
“A hot property market in the Midlands and North West is propping up the UK’s overall picture, and this, together with declines that have so far not been dramatic in London, show property is still the relatively safe long-term investment it has always proved to be.”
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