Prices in England and Wales down 0.2% in July, latest index shows

Property prices in England and Wales fell by 0.2% in July, reducing the annual growth to 2.9%, the lowest since July 2013, the latest index figures show.

But there are variations in the market with the East of England seeing annual growth of 5.1%, Wales recording the biggest increase in sales and the London borough of Lewisham recording a new peak price, up 2.4% in July.

The data from the Your Move index also shows that the average price is now £298,906 and sales fell by 9% in July although yearly activity shows regions such as London and the East of England are continuing to grow strongly.

Every region across England and Wales recorded annual growth as demand for affordable property continues to rise. Traditionally lower priced boroughs of London and cities outside the commuter belt are beginning to see increased activity and transactions from first time buyers.

Also, every region in the UK still shows annual growth, however they all slowed in June. The biggest drops in annual growth were in Wales, down 1.5% to just 0.2% for the year, the West Midlands was down 1.3% to 3.3%, Yorkshire and Humber down 1.2% to 1.5% while in the South East annual growth was also down 1.2% to 3.5%.

The report says that the slowdown in the South East means that it looks significantly less buoyant than its three neighbours. In the South West prices are up 4.2% annually, the East Midlands registered an increase of 4.1% and the East of England, which continues to lead the way in England and Wales with annual house price inflation, rose 5.1%.

Nevertheless, something of the re-emerging north-south divide continues to be apparent, with the North East at 1.1%, Yorkshire and Humber at 1.5%, Wales at 0.2% and, to a lesser extent, the North West and West Midlands, both up 3.3%, recording weaker growth than the southern regions.

Greater London, with 2.4% annual growth remains an exception. The East of England continues to perform strongly, with all its unitary authority areas showing solid annual growth, led by Southend-on-Sea, up 10.2%, and Luton and Bedfordshire both up 8%. The former two, along with Peterborough, also recorded new peak prices in the month.

Aside from Southend-on-Sea, four other areas recorded double digit growth in prices on an annual basis. Rutland in the East Midlands had the highest annual increase at 2.9%, albeit on low transaction volumes. Poole up 10.8% in the South West, which shows strong growth overall with Bournemouth, up 9% annually, also particularly strong.

Pembrokeshire up 10.8% and Blaenau Gwent up 10.7% both bucked the trend in Wales. Wales also bucks the trend when it comes to transactions. Torfaen saw growth of 28%, Caerphilly up 26%, the Isle of Anglesey also up 26%, Ceredigion up 22% and Wrexham up 19%.

Prices in London fell for the third month in succession in June, down by 1.5%, the second biggest drop in over six years but still remain up £14,244 on last year. The fall takes £8,913 off the average property price in London, but this still remains double the national average, at £602,849.

The trend in London is a mixed picture with 17 London boroughs seeing prices fall last month, and the other 16 seeing prices rise. The top three boroughs in London still show solid annual growth, led by Kensington and Chelsea, the most expensive borough. Average prices in the borough are £1,954,735, up 17.3% on last year.

Of the top third most expensive boroughs among all 33 in London, eight saw prices drop last month, including all of the top five. The City of Westminster, with the second highest priced property in the capital, saw the biggest fall at 11.6%, and the City of London the second biggest at 8.2%. More significantly, the latter also saw the biggest fall on an annual basis, with prices down 17.6%.

At the other end of the market, of the cheapest eleven boroughs in London, six saw prices increase in June and only on, Greenwich, has seen prices decline on an annual basis. Just outside the cheapest 11, Lewisham also saw the biggest increase of the month, up 2.4%. With the average value in Lewisham now £469,709 it was also the only borough in London during June to record a new peak price.

‘Annual prices are still rising positively and regions continue to perform strongly, despite the slowdown in transaction numbers over the summer months. Whilst, as a business, we often see this at this time of year, the cause of the dip may also be down to the buy to let slowdown as a result of tax changes,’ he added.