Parts of England and Wales set new average price highs

Six regions in England and Wales have seen average prices reach a new peak with the national figure reaching £301,490 but growth is very much divided with London and the South East slowing, the latest index shows.

But overall price growth is slowing, reaching just 0.7% in March, down from 1.5% a year ago and it is the tenth month in a row that the annual rate has declined, according to the Your Move index.

The North West of England recorded the strongest annual growth at 3.9% to an average of £192,964, followed by 3.6% in the East Midlands to £212,258 and 3.5% in the South West to £288,885.

There was annual growth of 3% in Wales and Yorkshire and Humber, taking average prices to £183,197 and £188,882 respectively, and growth of 2.3% in the West Midlands to £220,135. Prices also increased by 1.7% in the East of England to £326,580 and in the North East by 1.2% to £161,520.

But prices fell year on year by 1.5% in Greater London to an average of £602,539 and in the South East of England they were flat with an average price of £373,987.

The index report reveals just how much the housing market has slowed since its peak in February 2016 when house prices were growing at 9% annually, but the slowdown is much more pronounced in London and the South East than elsewhere.

Indeed, excluding those two regions, the rest of England and Wales has seen prices grow at a more solid 2.6%. Even within London, there are exceptions to the general trend with Kensington and Chelsea, for example, recording prices increases close to a third in the last year.

However, in London, unlike previous months, price falls are no longer concentrated in the most expensive boroughs. The top 11 of London’s 33 boroughs have actually seen the smallest fall over the year to March, down just 0.2%, compared to 4% among the mid-priced boroughs and 0.3% in the cheapest 11.

But the report points out that this is almost entirely due to a 30.7% annual increase in the average price in Kensington and Chelsea, London’s most expensive borough, and that is largely the result of just seven high value property sales. These transactions, each for prices over £10 million, pushed the average price in the borough to a new peak of £2,570,950.

By contrast, other high end areas have seen big falls in the last 12 months, including a 15.9% drop in prices in Wandsworth, a fall of 14.7% for Richmond upon Thames and a fall of 11.4% in the City of London.

Overall, cheaper property in London does remain more robust with the 11 lowest priced areas accounting for almost half the 11 boroughs to still report increases in the last year. That includes the two very cheapest, Bexley and Barking and Dagenham with prices up 3.4% and 3.3% respectively.

Only Redbridge, the 12th cheapest borough in London, grew stronger, up 6.2%. Redbridge was also the only borough, other than Kensington and Chelsea, to set a new peak average price in the month.

‘The slowdown in London and the South East is now well established. Yet the performance of many of our key cities and regions elsewhere shows that there’s still life in the market yet,’ said Oliver Blake, managing director of Your Move and Reeds Rains estate agents.