By Frances Traynor
19th January 2018
Thu 26 Oct 2017 by Frances Traynor
There was mixed news in April’s UK house price figures from Halifax. The average price of a UK house increased by 5.8 percent in the year to February 2017, up from 5.3 percent in the year to January. But those February figures are still well below the 7.3 percent average annual house price growth seen across the UK in 2016.
What that means in practical terms is that an average house now costs £217,502. However, the rise in house prices in the year to February is the slowest since May 2013, according to the Halifax’s own stats.
That’s good news for buyers, a little less enjoyable reading for sellers.
The Halifax figures, along with analysis from the Nationwide that showed the first fall in house prices – albeit only by 0.3 percent – since June 2015, are perhaps an indication that the UK housing market is beginning to cool down.
However, figures from both the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the Council for Mortgage Lenders (CML), also released this week, suggest home-buying activity is still increasing and house price inflation very much on the up, if at a slightly decreased level.
The Halifax’s monthly statement revealed that prices in England rose by 5.8 percent, in Scotland by 3.1 percent, in Wales by 1.8 percent and by a mighty 5.7 percent in Northern Ireland.
That puts the average cost of a house in England at £234,466; it’s now £139,000 in Scotland; £145,293 in Wales; £125,000 in Northern Ireland.
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While the cost of buying in London continues to be prohibitively high for many, there are some signs that the capital’s property is not hitting the same expensive highs. Figures released on April 13 from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) showed that house prices in central London rose at their slowest pace in almost five years, with the increased tax on second homes and concerns over the effects of Brexit cited as factors in the slowdown.
Greater demand than supply also continues to inhibit the market, according to the RICS’ chief economist Simon Rubinsohn, who said: “High-end sale properties in central London remain under pressure, while the wider residential market continues to be underpinned by a lack of stock.”
While it's good for both sellers and buyers to keep up with the latest news on the property market, the reality is that the only thing that matters for both is how their own particular property performs.
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