Housing: A clear priority for the Northern Powerhouse

UK house prices were up £12,000 last year after steady annual climb

The latest set of house price figures, this time from the Office for National Statistics, has revealed a 5.2% annual rise in the country’s average house prices.

The average home in the UK now costs £227,000 according to the most recent Land Registry data, compiled by the ONS, from December 2017, putting properties £12,000 higher than the same period in 2016, and £1,000 – or 0.4% – higher than November.

Looking solely at England, the average home is now worth £244,000, which is a 5% annual increase. Meanwhile, Scotland saw the value of its properties shoot up by 7.7% over the year to reach £149,000, the strongest growth seen across the UK.

Average house price, by UK country, January 2005 to December 2017

Although the UK’s annual growth rate has slowed down since 2016, it has remained relatively resilient at around 5% in 2017, and the figures were higher than the original projections.

Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent and a former residential chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), said: “The increase in prices for December, albeit at a slowing pace, reflects more the shortage of available property to buy at that time rather than market strength or otherwise, as transaction numbers were relatively low.

“Since December we have noticed more balance with a slower increase in instructions and viewings as we would expect at this time of year, although some buyer caution is likely to remain until the market finds its new level this year.”

Top performers across England

When separated by region, in terms of the annual growth rate, the south-west of the country has seen the biggest rate of change, with house prices rising by 7.5% in the year to December. The next best-performing regions for house price growth were the East Midlands and West Midlands, which both saw higher than average rates of change of 6.3% each, with areas such as Birmingham seeing rapid growth over the past year.

The north-west also enjoyed strong house price rises in 2017, with annual growth of 5.9%, which again is well above the national average.

London‘s house prices continued to falter with the capital recording the slowest rate of growth at just 2.5%, although property prices there still significantly exceed the rest of the country at £484,000 on average as of December 2017. As London slows, the rest of the UK’s property markets seems to be seeing increased confidence and resilience, which is reflected in the growth.

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