Average prices in England and Wales up 0.8% in March, latest index shows

The average house price in England and Wales increase by 0.5% month on month and 3.3% year on year to £301,278 in March, the latest index data sows.

Eight out of 10 regions recorded new peak price averages with the West Midlands seeing the highest rate of annual house price growth at 4.8%, but the South East, including Greater London, has seen price growth continuing to slow.

This is the first time that the West Midlands has taken the top spot in regional annual price growth since the Your Move index records began in January 1996, some 21 years ago.

Birmingham is currently seeing new peak prices, with annual increases of 7.8% and in contrast, Greater London has fallen back into ninth position in terms of regional price change, one place ahead of the North East, which comes in last in the latest figures.

In Wales average prices increased by 0.8% month on month and by 1.6% year on year to an average of £175,864. While in Greater London the average price is now £606,783.

The index also shows that the lowest priced boroughs in London such as Bexley, Havering and Croydon are seeing the highest growth in prices, while the highest priced boroughs including Kensington and Chelsea and Camden are seeing prices fall.

In February, the top 11 boroughs by value saw prices fall by an average of 0.5%, while the bottom 11 boroughs saw prices climb by 0.4%, compared with annual growth of 0.8% and 5.5% respectively.

Four boroughs recorded an increase in sales during the three months to February 2017 with Tower Hamlets up 13%, Hackney up7%, the City of Westminster up6% and Sutton up 4% and three of them saw a very high proportion of property sales being flats, suggesting that flats are currently the most sought after property type in the Greater London market.

The index also shows that sales in March were estimated at 78,500, a notable 26% uplift in sales on February’s total, which appears high, but is in line with the average seasonal increase that takes place in March of most years.

Overall in February house price inflation fell to 3.1%, down from the 4.7% of the previous month, a decline of 1.6% in the month. This is the largest decline in a single month since December 2010, when a fall of 2% was recorded.

‘In England and Wales, house price inflation continues but at a relatively low, though still positive, level. From May 2016 onward, there has been a relatively gentle and almost straight line increase in house prices, despite the Brexit referendum in June 2016,’ said Oliver Blake, managing director of Your Move and Reeds Rains estate agents.

‘There is little in the short to medium term that will disrupt the market greatly, with interest rate increases seemingly on hold, mortgage supply and pricing remaining favourable and consumer confidence strong. In addition, first time buyer numbers are up, not least as a consequence of government schemes and the Bank of Mum and Dad,’ he pointed out.

‘However, with supply still tight, rising house prices remain a problem. We therefore cannot afford to overlook the ongoing housing shortage in the UK, which continues to dampen the hopes of many would be home owners,’ he explained.

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