North-west registers UK's highest property price growth


North-west registers UK's highest property price growth

Tue 14 Nov 2017 by Frances Traynor

The north-west of England has seen the highest house price growth in the last year, according to official figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Its analysis showed that property in cities such as Manchester are rising faster than the traditional hotspot of London and the south-east. London, in fact, registered the UK's slowest rise.

According to the ONS data, the average price of a house in the UK is now £226,367, up 5.4 percent in the year to September 2017. The average house price across England rose by 5.7 percent, but in the north-west, the average rise was 7.3 percent while it was 2.5 percent in London.

In Scotland, house prices rose an average of 3.1 percent, compared to 6 percent in Northern Ireland and 5.3 percent in Wales.

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1st-time buyers still facing squeeze

The continued pressure on first-time buyers was revealed by the ONS figures with UK Finance, the body representing mortgage lenders, revealing that they advanced 31,100 loans in September, down 10 percent on August and down 1 percent on September 2016. Newcomers to the property ladder are paying an average of £190,679 for their first home, up 5.1 percent in a year. That compares to owner-occupiers who paid an average £262,989, up 5.7 years in 12 months.

While many first-time buyers struggle to get together a deposit to buy a house they can afford, the ONS has revealed for the first time in its UK House Price Index how many buyers can afford to buy a property outright.

Their data showed that cash sales account for between 30 and 40 percent of all property  transactions across the UK. London has the lowest proportion of cash sales at around 25 percent, while the highest is in the south-west with around 40 percent.

New-build sector stays resilient

As part of the ONS report, it pointed to the monthly residential market survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) that revealed that new buyer enquiries fell during September for the sixth month in a row. The RICS did report that new instructions to sell were up for the second month in a row after 18 months of negativity.

And the agents' summary of business conditions from the Bank of England showed that supply and demand remain broadly in balance across the UK property market, where the new-build sector was particularly resilient and Help to Buy has been crucial in sustaining the demand from first-time buyers.

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