The latest figures from the UK House Price Index released by HMS Land Registry show that the average house price across the UK sits at £225,621 for January 2018. This is an annual increase of 4.9%, with a minor drop month on month of -0.3%.
Average House Price
Annual Price Growth
Monthly Price Growth
The number of property sales has dropped 11.6% throughout the UK as uncertainty continues to hang over the market, and although England has by far the highest number of transactions, there has been a -13% annual drop. Scotland has the most optimistic figures with only a slight drop of -1.9% year on year.
But while sellers continue to adopt the ‘wait and see’ approach, there has been a notable uplift in buyer demand. First-time buyers have increased by 4.6% annually with an average price paid of £189,859, while previous owner buyers have increased by 5.1% over the last year.
January 2018 also marks the month with the highest number of mortgage approvals since July 2017 with 67,000 being approved throughout the month and 6,000 higher than the previous month. These statistics indicate that the market is continuing to build momentum, at least on the buyer side, and seller apprehension could see them miss out on a sale as they refrain from marketing their property.
Homeowners in Scotland have cause to cheer with the highest increase in the UK at 7.3% over the past year. England saw a price increase of 4.6%, followed by Wales (4.5%) and Northern Ireland (4.3%).
The East Midlands is the English region leading in annual house price growth at 7.3%, with an average property value of £185,568. The South West closely follows with a 6.9% price growth year on year, trailed by the East of England and the West Midlands, both enjoying a 5.3% growth rate.
On the other side of the spectrum, the North East only saw a minimal increase of 0.7% in the last year, and London price grew by a humble 2.1%.
The largest annual growth was seen in the Orkney Islands with 23.58% and a modest average property price tag of £144,214. East and West Lothian increased by 13.94% and 13.32%, respectively. The Isle of Anglesey closely follows with a growth rate of 13.14%.
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea impressively jumped by 9.17% month on month, followed by the Isle of Anglesey (6.42%), Mid Ulster (5.89%) and the Forest of Dean (5.24%).
A predictably slow start to the year and one that will no doubt subside as a larger degree of activity returns to the market over the coming months.
This lethargic start will no doubt be welcomed by those who have persistently talked the marked down, using a slow in house price growth to add further fuel to the flames of a shambolic Brexit process.
But while we have seen occasional and marginal declines in house price growth over the last year, the market remains in pretty good health considering.
As we drift closer to our European divorce an inadequate level of suitable housing stock to satisfy even a reduced level of buyer demand, will see prices remain stimulated regardless of any wider external influences.
Those buyers and sellers that are still sat on the sideline waiting for the impact of Brexit to hit, or for their property to regain the marginal value it may have dropped, may want to reconsider their position on the fence. Remaining there for too long will result in nothing but splinters as the rest of the market goes about its business as usual.Russell Quirk
When it comes to London, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea tops the list for highest monthly growth rate at 9.17% with an average property value of £1,380,000. Southwark (3.18%), Newham (2.48%) and Waltham Forest (2.26%) all trail by a long shot.
There is a closer race for annual increase across the capital. Redbridge enjoyed a 5.87% increase, followed by Merton (5.65%), Lewisham (5.32%), Greenwich (4.57%) and Bexley (4.35%).
A new year, but a similar picture for the London property market as the capital’s peripheral boroughs remain popular among home buyers and continue to see strong price growth despite wider market conditions. Unfortunately for those homeowners in the more prestigious neighbourhoods in London, a high price tag and a higher degree of buyer uncertainty at the top end of the market has seen price growth continue to decline. There are signs of a recovery, in Kensington and Chelsea at least, while the borough has seen a decrease annually, it has enjoyed the quickest start out of the blocks so far in 2018.Russell Quirk