Newcastle north house prices

House prices in the north continue to outperform the south

The north east, the north west and Yorkshire and the Humber are all bucking the trend for house prices, while the regions in the south of England lag behind. 

UK property prices increased between January and February this year by an average of £200, and are down only marginally (-0.3%) compared with last February, according to the latest house price index from Zoopla.

However, the north-south divide continues to be apparent, with the north of England continuing to demonstrate greater resilience and recovery when it comes to house prices. Demand in lower-priced areas tends to remain strong through economic pressures and higher interest rates, which is likely to be buoying many of these regions.

Northern Ireland and Scotland led the way for the UK, with price rises of 4.1% and 2.1% respectively. In England, the north east saw prices increase by 1.1% over the past year, followed by the north west with 0.8%, and Yorkshire and the Humber with 0.6%.

However, Zoopla reveals that at the other end of the scale, house prices in the east of England have fallen by -2.3%, followed by the south east (-2%), the south west (-1.5%), the East Midlands (-0.5%) and London (-0.4%).

Focus on specific areas

For homebuyers and property investors, delving behind the headline figures looking at the UK property market as a whole, and instead looking more specifically at particular areas, gives a much more accurate picture of the state of the housing market and where the strongest performing areas are.

Looking at cities across the UK, Zoopla’s research shows that 11 out of 19 cities experienced house price growth over the past year, while the remaining eight saw depleted prices.

UK-wide, property prices in Belfast and Glasgow increased the most, at 4.5% and 2.6% respectively. After this, Sheffield held third position with a 1.3% rise, followed by Edinburgh (1.2%), Leeds (1%), Manchester (1%), and Liverpool (1%).

The north west has been a particularly resilient region in the UK over recent years according to a range of indices, while also offering one of the strongest rental markets in terms of tenant demand. As such, rental prices in these areas have also seen some of the highest growth in the country.

House prices affected by disposable income

Affordability issues linked to rising mortgage rates, the cost of living crisis, and the significant boost in house prices seen since the pandemic have all had an impact on the housing market recently. While momentum has remained strong in some areas, this has created a levelling off in terms of house prices and transaction levels.

According to Richard Donnell, executive director of research at Zoopla, affordability is set to improve, alongside predicted falls in interest rates which will make the mortgage market more appealing.

“I expect rising disposable incomes to be the main driver of better housing affordability over 2024,” he said. “Disposable incomes are projected to increase by +3.5% over the year while I expect house prices to remain flat.

“The timing and scale of interest rate falls – and the subsequent impact on mortgage rates – is another key factor that could boost market sentiment.

“Fixed rate mortgages today are already priced around expectations of a drop to interest rates, but a further reduction would likely result in further falls to mortgage rates. It depends on how low money markets see the Bank Rate falling.

“Economists currently predict the Bank Rate to fall to 3.5% by the end of 2025. If accurate, it’s expected that mortgage rates will stay around the 4%+ range.

“This would support sales volumes but would require incomes to continue to rise faster than house prices to help reset housing affordability, especially in southern England.”

As far as regional property markets go, the north of England is expected to continue to perform well due to ongoing high levels of investment taking place, particularly in the cities but increasingly in surrounding towns, boosting the appeal for these locations.

Read more UK property market news here.

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