If you’re looking to buy property in an up and coming area with the strongest house prices, Yorkshire, the Midlands and the north-west could be your best bet.
The average price of a property in England is now just over £247,355 after climbing 1.1% over the past year, according to the Office for National Statistics. The index uses HM Land Registry data, meaning it is one of the most accurate measures.
The latest release from March looked at available house price data up to January 2020. It also showed a 1.2% monthly rise from December to January (non-seasonally adjusted). This marked the start of the “Boris bounce“, which other indices have recognised over the first three months of this year.
While house price indices are useful, it is important not to over-emphasise small monthly changes. However, when looking at it from a more general basis, it can help you to spot ongoing trends. This is especially pertinent when looking at different regions.
Yorkshire leading the pack
Looking at England, Yorkshire and the Humber was the fastest growing region over the past year. Here, house prices leapt by 3.1% between January 2019 and 2020 – far ahead of the national average.
Within this, Barnsley saw standout performance. The Yorkshire city’s house prices increased by an average 7% over the 12 months. Leeds was another city that continues on its upward trajectory. House prices there increased by an average 5.1%, from £182,297 to £191,578. Sheffield also recorded strong gains of 4.8%, while Doncaster’s house prices rose by 4.5%.
These areas have all been earmarked for greater growth in the years to come. Leeds regularly comes up as a top place in the UK for property investment. There are some major investment and regeneration projects currently taking place there, which are attracting growing numbers of businesses, residents and investors.
The West Midlands is also experiencing very strong house price growth at the moment. On average, prices increased by 2.6% over the past year, and this trend is expected to continue as more investment comes to the area. Not far behind this is the East Midlands, where prices went up by an average 2.3%.
Back up north, the north-west region had a house price surge higher than the national average, at 2.1%. Preston was a standout area for house price gains in this area. The city, which has been the target of huge amounts of investment recently, saw prices rise by 3.6%. This took them from £124,774 to £129,238, meaning it is still one of the most affordable investment locations in the UK.
This ONS report is one of many in recent years showing the strongest house price performance away from London. The capital did experience annual growth of 1.4%, demonstrating its slowly recovering housing market. As the major business hub of the UK, it will always attract the most investment overall, even if house price gains lag behind.
But the growing trend has been a strengthening of the regional markets, particularly in the north of England. Helped by rising investment levels, the Northern Powerhouse initiative, and a growing number of businesses relocating away from the capital, these areas are expected to continue to thrive.
You can view the full January 2020 ONS house price index here.