Using the latest and last data for 2016 from the Land Registry, we’ve looked at the areas of the UK where unlucky homeowners have seen prices fall annually, despite the market as a whole remaining resolute throughout the last year.
Top Worst: UK
Across the whole of the UK, nowhere has made a worst investment for UK homeowners than the City of Aberdeen. Whilst many UK homeowners have seen the price of their property move positively north, prices on the Scottish east coast have plummeted by -9.81%, a loss of nearly £20,000 from its height of £185,848 last year.
Unfortunately for those in Scotland, the second worst place to have bought in the last year is Inverclyde, where prices have also seen a sharp decline of -7.63% in the last year.
Perhaps more surprisingly is the third worst location in the UK for a property investment in the last year. Whilst the average homeowner in the East of England has seen values increase by a notable 11.31%, the highest of all UK regions, homeowners in Cambridgeshire have paid the price of an over inflated market with prices falling by -5.12% in the last year. The highest decline of anywhere across England.
The Worst: England
Joining Cambridge with the unsavoury titles of worst places to buy in England are Eden and Copeland, both of which are located in the North West region. Whilst the average homeowner in the North West region has enjoyed an increase of 6.58% in property values, Eden and Copeland have seen prices fall by -3.05% and -2.66% respectively.
The Worst: London
It has been an up and down year for London with the changes to stamp duty tax for buy to let investors and the uncertainty caused by a Brexit vote. Although the capital has remained strong in the face of adversity, homeowners in Hammersmith and Fulham won’t be feeling great about their investment in one of the most expensive markets in the world. It is the only borough to have seen prices decline, down -2.10% in the last year whilst the capital as a whole has seen values rise by over 7%.
The next worst performing boroughs were Richmond upon Thames and Westminster although, at 0.38% and 1.15%, they have at least provided a small return on their investment.
The Worst: Wales
Unfortunately for homeowners in mid-Wales, Ceredigion has seen the largest decline in values across the nation to the west, the fourth largest across the entire UK. Wales as a whole has seen a slump in the property market but has shown signs of recovery towards the back end of 2016. But this wasn’t enough to comfort homeowners in Ceredigion as prices have fallen by -3.49% in the last year.
Merthyr Tydfil has seen the second largest and only other decrease in property values across Wales with a drop of -1.51%.
The Worst: Scotland
Not only is Scotland home to the top two worst locations for UK homeowners, but it would seem an uncertain year has had a detrimental impact on the Scottish market across the board.
Of the 16 areas that have seen a fall in prices, seven are located in Scotland. Along with the City of Aberdeen and Inverclyde is Aberdeenshire as a whole (-3.48%), North Ayrshire (-2.03%), the City of Edinburgh (-0.6%), Midlothian (-0.47%) and West Dunbartonshire (-0.31%).
Despite the market performing well throughout what was a testing year, when the dust settles there will always be areas that have seen a fall in prices on an annual basis.
The UK market is renowned for its strength and reliability in terms of providing some form of return on our investment into bricks and mortar, but there will always be those that have to chalk it down to experience and accept the wooden spoon of UK property.
In this case, it is Aberdeen, Inverclyde and Cambridge amongst others.
Aberdeen has been rocked by a declining oil industry and a lack of buyer demand so it comes as little surprise that it remains in the doldrums of UK property. I think the SNP’s attempt to weaponise the Brexit vote and seek independence so soon after their original referendum has made a rod for Scottish homeowners’ backs, by creating a great deal more hesitation and uncertainty in the market than was really necessary. Demonstrated by the presence of seven Scottish entries in the 16 areas that have seen prices fall over the last year.
With an average house price close to rivalling that of the capital, Cambridge is no doubt paying the price for an overinflated market during 2016. As prices spiral beyond affordability, a fall in demand by the average Cambridge homeowner will always result in an annual drop in prices.
Although not the largest decrease of the lot, homeowners in Hammersmith and Fulham will no doubt be pinching themselves after drawing the short straw of London property values. Although London has stood tall against the second home stamp duty changes and the buy-to-let sector remains a lucrative business, Hammersmith and Fulham’s high-end market has no doubt suffered most from the turbulence of the last year.Russell Quirk