Property prices in England and Wales down 0.8%, latest official figures show
Property prices in England and Wales fell by 0.8% in March, taking the average house price to £178,007, according to the latest data from the Land Registry.
It means that the annual price change now stands at 5.3% and the data also shows that sales have fallen. From October 2013 to January 2014 there was an average of 76,056 sales per month. In the same months a year later, the figure was 71,090.
But in London property prices are still going up with a monthly increase of 0.2%. At 11.3% the annual change for London is considerably higher than most other regions. The average price of property in the capital is £462,799 in comparison with the average for England and Wales of £178,007.
The London borough with the highest annual price rise is Newham, with a rise of 19.8% and Hackney experienced the highest monthly increase, up 1.6%. Kensington and Chelsea saw the lowest annual growth of 5.2% also experienced the greatest monthly fall with a drop of 1.6%.
On a regional basis the North East saw the only annual price fall with a drop of 2.9%, the South East experienced the greatest monthly price rise of 0.8% and the North East also saw the largest monthly decrease with a fall of 4%.
Bracknell Forest and Hertfordshire experienced the greatest annual price increase in March with a rise of 13.6% and Darlington saw the greatest annual price fall with a drop of 6.2%.
The index report shows that price index volatility is greater in areas where recorded sales volumes are low. Index volatility leads to erratic and high changes in reported price. Some of the areas that typically have very low transaction volumes include, but are not limited to, the City of London, Rutland, the Isle of Anglesey, Merthyr , Blaenau Gwent, Ceredigion and Torfaen.
The number of properties sold in England and Wales for over £1 million in January 2015 decreased by 19% to 851 from 1,049 in January 2014 while the number of properties sold in London for over £1 million in January 2015 decreased by 23% to 571 from 746 in January 2014.
However, Edward Heaton, of Heaton and Partners search agency, pointed out that the headline figures only tell part of the story. ‘In London, for example, there may indeed have been an 11.3% increase in greater London over the last year, but in prime central London prices have actually dropped,’ he said.
‘The biggest increases have been in second tier areas such as Wandsworth, Battersea, Clapham and some of the up and coming areas to the East of London. In the South East, most of the activity and increases in price have been in the mainstream market below £1 million,’ he explained.
‘Certainly above £2 million prices have remained pretty stable, although there is an expectation that prices will start rising rapidly after the election, almost regardless of its result,’ he added.
Nicholas Leeming, chairman of national estate agents Jackson-Stops & Staff, which has 44 offices nationwide, called for an end to all the major political parties exploiting housing and the property market as a political see-saw. He blames the cooling in the London market on political uncertainties and the risk of higher value property taxation.
‘Our politicians are indulging in see-saw politics, causing confusion and uncertainty among homeowners and investors. Many vendors are failing to adjust to current market conditions with unrealistic guide prices and this has resulted in the number of property transactions reducing substantially. International buyers are showing caution and some will not commit to purchases for as long as the outcome to the election remains in doubt,’ he commented.
‘The market outside London is seeing increased activity with values up by an average of 0.8 per cent in the South-east as the regional economies prosper, the cost of mortgages remain low and confidence feeds through into this sector. Higher value properties outside London are also affected by political uncertainties. Sales of between £1 million and £2 million and above remain slow with values reflecting more limited demand,’ he added.