Although we’re seeing the lowest growth in house prices over the last seven years, regional and local variations are becoming increasingly marked.
If we look broadly at the data, there appears to be something of a North-South divide: annual growth in the North West and East and West Midlands is outpacing inflation, while the South East, East and Greater London are all struggling to maintain growth at all.
The South West, however, has seen annual growth of 1.0%, which is level pegging with the North East (also 1.0%) and Yorkshire and Humberside (0.9%). This shows that it isn’t as clear cut in the North-South divide. Nevertheless, there’s a clear area of strength across the Midlands, into Wales and up into the North West, all of which have growth above inflation.
The East Midlands is currently recording annual growth of 3.6%, with both Leicester (up 7.5% annually) and Nottingham (up 5.1%) setting new peak prices in November. Derby (up 6.9%), Rutland (up 5.0%) and Leicestershire (also up 5.0%) are all posting strong annual growth.
Wales, which matches the region’s overall growth, also has some stand out areas, led by Caerphilly, up 10.2%, setting a new peak average price together with Monmouthshire (up 5.8%) and Newport (5.6%).
It is not all doom and gloom in the South East as there are some brighter spots. Windsor and Maidenhead (the most expensive local authority area in the region, with average prices of £600,701), have seen growth of 7.5%. In the East of England, most areas are subdued, but Thurrock, with a 4.2% annual increase, continues to grow robustly.
Overall, annual price growth continues to be positive across the majority of the major conurbations outside London. Leicester (up 7.5%), the West Midlands (up 5.3%), Nottingham (up 5.1%), Greater Manchester (up 4.8%) and Bristol (up 4.3%) are all showing particularly strong growth. The one exception is Southampton, where prices are down 3.1% annually.
While the market is still seeing nominal price growth, the number of transactions has fallen by 2.4%. The slowdown in house price growth has, however, made house prices more affordable, and the mortgage market remains highly favourable for buyers. For many first-time buyers there could be opportunities later this year.
Oliver Blake, Managing Director of Your Move and Reeds Rains estate agents said:
“Due to current political and economic unrest it is understandable why buyers and sellers may be taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to the property market. In turn, as demand waivers, it means that property may become more affordable to more people. This should help buyers, and first-time buyers in particular, when they are ready to act.”