UK house prices sale

Average UK house prices up by £26,000 in 12 months

While the wider market continues to speculate on what will happen to UK house prices in 2023, those who bought at the start of 2022 have already made the equivalent of around £2,100 per month in gains.

The latest research from the Office for National Statistics, which publishes its data at a slight lag to other house price indices due to the fact it uses final sold prices rather than asking prices, has revealed that UK house prices increased by 9.8% in the 12 months to December.

While this was slightly down on the growth seen between November 2021 and 2022 (of 10.6%), it demonstrates ongoing stability in the UK property market in the face of the challenges seen towards the end of last year. It brings the current average property price in the UK to £294,000.

The picture is quite different across the various parts of the UK, though, with England and Wales both recording annual house price growth of 10.3%, while Scotland’s prices rose by just 5.7% and Northern Ireland recorded a rise of 10.2%.

UK house prices by region

The East Midlands was the standout region for growth, where prices increased by 12.3% in the year to December 2022. By contrast, London saw the lowest growth of all regions at 6.7%, which has been the case for many months now as the capital has struggled to keep up with other soaring markets.

Only slightly behind the East Midlands in the UK house prices rankings, the north west recorded house price growth of 12.2% over the period. The region has performed particularly strongly over recent years in both its housing markets and its rental markets, and the upwards trajectory in pricing will come as no surprise to many investors.

Yorkshire and the Humber saw its property values rise by 11.8%, followed by the north east (11.7%), the West Midlands (10.7%), the south east (10.1%), the east of England (9.9%) and the south west (8.9%).

However, with the average property price in the capital now coming in at around £543,000, it remains by far the most expensive place in which to invest in property or buy a home, despite the recent stagnation the market there has experienced.

The south east, the east of England and the south west all have homes priced well above the average in terms of UK house prices, according to the ONS data, while the areas that are proving most resilient in terms of price rises remain the most affordable places to buy property.

In fact, in a recent report from Savills, the agent pointed out that many parts of the north of England are more able to withstand the current pressures of rising mortgage rates, due to the fact that buyers are generally able to rely on lower amounts of borrowing in order to buy a home or investment property there.

While the report looked more specifically at the prime property market as opposed to UK house prices in general, it also pointed out that these were the areas most likely to see the strongest capital appreciation of property over the coming years.

A seasonal slowdown but a good year ahead

Marc von Grundherr, director of Benham and Reeves, said of the latest ONS UK house prices data: “A combination of economic turbulence, increasing mortgage rates and a squeeze on household finances has been the perfect recipe for a reduction in the rate of house price growth and that’s what we’ve seen since the closing stages of last year.

“When you also couple these factors with the usual seasonal slowdown that hits the market during December, it would have been more of a surprise had house prices continued to climb.

“However, what’s important to note is that the rate of decline has been far more marginal than many predicted and this should stand the property market in very good stead for the year ahead.”

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