House prices in the UK increased by an average of 1.4% in the 12 months to April 2019 and were up 0.7% month on month to £228,903, the latest official figures show.
The figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals that prices in England increased 1.1% year on year to £245,128, in Wales they increased by 6.7% to £163,902 and in Scotland the annual rise was 1.6% to £150,825.
A breakdown of the figures reveals that prices are varied in England on a monthly basis, up by 5% in the North East, by 2.4% in London, by 0.9% in the East Midlands, by 0.6% in the North West and by 0.3% in Yorkshire and the Humber and the East of England.
Month on month prices fell by 0.2% in the West Midlands and by 0.1% in both the South West and the South East.
Year on year the biggest annual prices rise was 2.9% in the East Midlands while London recorded the largest annual prices fall with house prices down by 1.2% where the average price is now £471,504.
In Scotland the biggest price increase was in Stirling, where prices increased by 8.4% year on year to £192,000. The biggest fall was recorded in Aberdeen, where average prices fell over the year by 6.2% to £150,000.
Meanwhile, in Wales prices increased over the last year in all local authority areas. Blaenau Gwent showed the strongest growth, increasing by 17.0% to £99,000 but it is stull the cheapest place to buy a house. The most expensive is Monmouthshire where the cost of an average house was £260,000.
In Northern Ireland the figures cover the first quarter of 2019 and show that prices increased by 3.5% year on year and fell by 1% month on month to an average of £134,811.
Jamie Durham, Economist at PwC, pointed out that the national slowdown in price growth is driven by negative growth in London and the South East area and it is the tenth month is a row that prices in London have fallen on an annual basis, suggesting that uncertainty in the capital’s housing market is still a problem.
According to Jonathan Harris, director of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, 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.
‘Lenders continue to cut mortgage rates so there is no upwards pressure on pricing and the biggest challenge is meeting lenders’ affordability criteria and pulling together that all-important deposit,’ he added.
Prices continue to be supported by lack of stock, improving affordability and almost record low mortgage rates and unemployment, according to Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman.
‘Overall, despite renewed interest from buyers there are too many sellers still wedded to the idea that prices will increase perhaps when Brexit is resolved and/or some political stability returns. The reality is that only those sellers who are realistic enough to recognise new market conditions are proving successful,’ he explained.
‘While prices are falling in the South East, prices elsewhere are growing. The East Midlands had the strongest annual growth regionally in England, at 2.9%, but the West Midlands and North of England all performed similarly,’ he added.
(c) Property Wire, June 2019