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Property Price Update – April 2018

Monitoring the housing market is very important for many, particularly those doctors and dentists who are looking to purchase their first home or who are investing in buy-to-let properties. With 2018 in full swing, we look at what is happening with the UK property market. Our monthly Property Price Update gives you a summary of what the experts are saying.

This article does not constitute advice. Professional advice should be taken prior to acting on any part of it. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage or any other debt secured on it.

What is happening with the UK Property Market?

The latest figures released by Nationwide indicate that annual house price growth has remained steady at 2.1% during the month of March, down just 0.2% from February’s growth rate of 2.2%.

On average, house prices in March were approximately £211,625. This is a slight improvement on February, where the average property price came to £210,402.

As Nationwide predicted last year, the annual growth demand remains in the 2-4% range. This consistently moderate house growth seems contradictory to the minor boom the country is experiencing in some aspects: employment rates and wages are up, while borrowing costs are historically low.

Despite the economic environment, UK households are still experiencing strain since cost of living hasn’t quite caught up with wage growth.

Regional Differences

Some areas of the country boast greater growth than others – coming out ahead are Northern Ireland and Wales, with London bringing up the rear. Northern Ireland gained an impressive 7.9% annually despite prices remaining as much as 38% below pre-crisis levels. This is a drastic difference from the rest of the country that still remains 16% above. Another area that recorded an increase was Wales with a 6.1% year on year growth, the highest since 2014.

In comparison, England’s house price growth sat at 1.9%, with only Scotland seeing less growth – a dismal 0.2% year on year increase.

In fact, the disparity between London and the south east and the other areas of the country might be evidence that these regions are bringing down the wider house price average in the UK. London and the south east’s market conditions highlight the lack of consumer confidence in the region compared to outside the capital and surrounding suburbs.

North versus South

This is the fourth straight quarter that the northern regions of England beat the south in terms of house price growth. Growth in the south has actually has been on the decline for the past two years but is now chugging along at the slowest rate since 2012. On the other end of the spectrum, the north’s prices have been steadily increasing and are enjoying the best growth rate since 2014.

While the north is the clear winner when it comes to rate of growth, the south’s house prices still remain on top. Homes in the southern region are selling for more than double the price of a home in the north, with the average southern home costing £331,047 while a typical northern home will set you back approximately £163,138.

An eye to the future

What housing price growth looks like for the last three quarters of 2018 remains to be seen. Outside economic factors such as unemployment rates, interest rates, and housing inventory will all have an impact on housing prices, but experts still expect the market to remain flat, gaining merely 1% through the rest of the year.

Keeping an eye on the constantly evolving market is important if you’re planning to buy or sell property this year, so be sure to check back monthly for our property price update, or contact an advisor for personalised advice.

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