The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics reveal that average house prices in Britain rose by 5.8% in the year to February 2017. This took the average value of a property in the UK to £217,502.
This was up from the 5.3% year-on-year growth seen in year to January 2017, but is still below the average house price growth of 7.3% seen in 2016.
Further analysis of the figures indicate that prices by country in the UK rose by:
- England- 5.8%
- Wales- 1.8%
- Scotland- 3.1%
- Northern Ireland- 5.7%
As such, the average value in these countries stands at:
- England- £234,466
- Wales- £145,293
- Scotland- £139,000
- Northern Ireland- £125,000
The East of England saw the highest annual growth, with values rising by 10.3% year-on-year to February. This was followed by the East Midlands with 7.5% and West Midlands with 7%. On the other hand, the lowest annual growth was seen in the North East, where prices rose by 2.2%.
Nicholas Finn, executive director of Garrington Property Finders, feels that the gently increasing rate of price growth is welcome but it should not be confused with robust health in the property market.
He notes that this is, ‘symptom of the chronic lack of supply,’ with, ‘the number of homes for sale still very limited in many areas.’
‘Although there are increasing numbers of committed and motivated buyers coming to market, they remain deeply price sensitive and will happily walk away from properties they feel are overpriced,’ he explained.
Mr Finn also pointed out that mid-priced properties are attracting fierce competition, with not enough stock to appease all would-be buyers. However, at the top end of the market, buyers can enjoy substantial discounts.
‘With consumer price inflation holding steady in March, the Bank of England will continue to delay any interest rate rise for as long as possible, leaving the way clear for the property market to continue its slow upward progress,’ he added.
Doug Crawford, chief executive officer of My Home Move, observed: ‘There is a bit of regional variation at play, with the areas that have seen substantial house price growth in recent years cooling off, notably London and the South East. Arguably this is needed to counteract some of the rapid growth over recent years.’
‘The fact is that the fundamentals are in place for a solid year for the housing market, with robust levels of demand significantly outstripping supply. The biggest obstacle for a happy housing market remains the access to the first step of the housing ladder for first time buyers, even in areas where the market is cooler,’ he added.