The latest Hometrack Cities Index for March 2018 shows that UK city price growth is up from 3.7% a year ago, now at 5.5.
The highest growth is found in Edinburgh at 8.1% while Aberdeen remains the worst city in the UK, falling by -6.6%.
Cambridge is the only other UK city to have seen a fall in prices, down -1.2% but the downward price trend in the capital is starting to subside, with the market looking set to stabilise over 2018
Along with Edinburgh, the other cities to enjoy the largest rate year on year price growth are Nottingham, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Bristol and Cardiff.
City property sales are on the up
As well as an uplift in price growth, Hometrack found that the number of properties sold so far in 2018 has increased when compared to this time last year. This positive market indicator is present across all UK cities, including London, suggesting a return to previous levels of buyer demand.
Increasing stock levels
As well as an increase in buyer activity pushing up the level of property sales across UK cities, the supply of stock coming onto the market has also been increasing. This was predominantly found in cities with above average price growth as market uncertainty has begun to subside and sellers have decided to proceed with their sale.
However, the number of properties entering the market in some cities is still marginally lower than the uplift in spring buyer interest and so this slight lack of stock along with higher affordability is further stimulating price growth.
In London, it would seem that the capital’s sellers have well and truly shrugged off the higher degree of market uncertainty with more properties entering the market than there are buyers to purchase them. This is also the case in Oxford and Cambridge and it would seem the higher price of getting on the ladder is still keeping some buyers on the fence.
City living often comes at a premium and so an increase in the number of sales agreed across all UK cities is a strong indicator of the stabilising health of the market and a returning level of both buyer and seller interest.
London has seen the most sustained decline of all UK cities so the early signs that downward price pressure is subsiding will be very welcome.
While London buyers may still be waking from their Brexit hibernation, there has been an influx of stock coming onto the market and this sign of confidence from sellers in the capital should soon filter through to the buyer side of the market.
When it does, the London market should start to find its feet again and continue to build momentum throughout the rest of the year.Russell Quirk