On the 14th of February, Estate Agent Today commented on the evident slowing of the annual growth in average house prices across the country.
Official figures show that the annual increase in house prices averaged only 2.5% in the past 12 months – the period of lowest growth since 2013.
The national average, however, disguises some marked regional differences:
- in the North East of England, for example, prices fell by a full 1%;
- in London, there was also a fall in average prices – of 0.6% – where increased Stamp Duty for foreign buyers was probably as big a culprit as current uncertainties over Brexit;
- in the West Midlands, on the other hand, average prices rose by 5.2%; whilst
- the East Midlands and Yorkshire & Humberside both saw increases of 4.2%;
- the strongest growth in average prices across the whole of the UK was in Northern Island – at 5.5%;
- followed closely by Wales at 5.2%; and
- in Scotland, average prices also rose, but by only 2.4% (close to the national average).
As background to these figures, commentators point to particular anxieties and uncertainties about Brexit, whilst also pointing to more positive fundamentals such as the overall shortage of property put up for sale and very low mortgage interest rates – both helping to maintain property prices.
In a market which has seen a decrease in the number of property purchase transactions, therefore, experts suggest that opportunities exist for the fewer buyers around, whilst sellers must expect to be more realistic in their expectations – and pay more careful attention to both price and the presentation of their properties.