Average property prices in England and Wales up month on month for first time since March

Average house prices in England and Wales saw a return to growth in November after several months of slowdown with values up 0.3%, the latest index shows.

This took the average price of a home to £300,859 but on an annual basis price growth continues to weaken and at 0.9% it is at its lowest since April 2012, according to the data from the LSL/Acadata index.

The report says that the return to monthly growth may signal the culmination of a turnaround that can be tracked since September when monthly price falls started to slow. Sales are strong, up 4% year on year.

Every region apart from Greater London has seen prices rise. The South West saw the biggest
Annual growth at 4.3%, taking the average price to £371,182 while Greater London with a fall of 3% saw the largest decline, taking the average price to £586,987.

Month on month prices fell in just two regions, Greater London which was down by 0.6% and the South East down 0.1%. Elsewhere the top monthly price growth was in the West Midlands with a rise of 0.5% and the East Midlands up 0.4% to an average of £215,944 and £205,385 respectively.

It is clear that London and the South East remain a pull on the market and the index report shows that if they are excluded from the annual calculation then prices were up by 3.3%.

Looking at London, the index figures show that of the cheapest 11 boroughs, four have seen prices drop in the last 12 months and in the most expensive 11, seven have seen prices increase.

However, between August and October 2017, the top three boroughs by price, the City of Westminster, Camden and Kensington and Chelsea, saw the biggest increases in transactions, up 28% for the first two, and 23% for the last. The report suggests that momentum is returning to sales in prime central London.

On an annual basis the biggest fall in prices in London was 18.2% in the City of Westminster, which also saw the biggest monthly fall in October of 5.7%, followed by Southwark down 17.9%. The biggest increase has been in Redbridge with a rise of 8.6%, followed by Haringey up 8%.

The report points out that the return of monthly growth has come just in time to save the market from recording an annual decline in prices. Nevertheless, the rate of growth in November at 0.9% continues the consistent downward trend begun in June. Only a year ago, annual price growth was 6.3%.

Despite the turnaround last month, the monthly falls since March also mean average prices remain more than £5,000 lower than their peak earlier this year of £306,063. There are some encouraging signs as monthly changes finally seem to be on an upward trend and the relative underperformance of London, which has done much to weaken the national figures, appears to be easing.

It also points out that going into 2018 the market will benefit from the key budget announcements of an exemption from stamp duty for first time buyers on homes up £300,000 and more money for the Help to Buy schemes.