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UK Property Prices Up Again in Fifth Monthly Gain

Data from the latest House Price Index from Halifax for February 2024 shows that the UK housing market continues to demonstrate resilience, with average house prices increasing by 0.4 per cent over the month. This marks the fifth consecutive month of growth, with property values witnessing a 1.7 per cent rise on an annual basis, albeit a slight deceleration from the 2.3 per cent growth observed in the previous month.

The average cost of a residential property in the UK now stands at £291,699, reflecting a modest increase of approximately £1,000 compared to January.

Regional performance: the highs and lows 

On a regional basis, Northern Ireland stood out as the best-performing area, with a 5 per cent annual increase in house prices, raising the average property value to £195,956. This represents a significant rise of £9,359 compared to February 2023. The North West region also experienced an increase, with property values rising by 4.4 per cent annually to an average of £232,128. Other regions to also report robust growth rates include the North East and Wales, with price rises of 4.2 per cent and 4.1 per cent respectively.

Conversely, eastern England witnessed the most substantial decline in house prices compared to other UK regions, with an average price drop of 0.8 per cent year-on-year, bringing the average property value down to £329,927. This downturn reflects a £2,794 decrease from the same period in the previous year.

Meanwhile, London continued to command the highest average house prices across the UK, with properties valued at an average of £536,996, marking a 1.5 per cent increase over the year. This growth signifies a return to positive annual price changes for the first time since January 2023.

In fact, the average price tag of a UK residential property is now only around £1,800 off the peak seen in June 2022.

The broader UK property market outlook 

In other recent news, the Bank of England’s governor Andrew Bailey recently stated that the bank does not have to meet its inflation target before it can start cutting interest rates, saying “We don’t need inflation to come back to target before we cut interest rates. I must be very clear on that — that’s not necessary.”

Other recent UK property market trends 

In other recent UK property market developments, January 2024 saw a notable uptick in UK housing activities. According to HMRC, there was a 1.9 per cent increase in seasonally adjusted residential transactions from December, totalling 82,000 sales, despite a quarterly and year-on-year decline. Meanwhile, the Bank of England reported a significant 7.2 per cent rise in mortgage approvals for house purchases in January, reaching 55,227 approvals, marking a substantial 40.2 per cent increase compared to the same period in the previous year. Furthermore, the RICS Residential Market Survey reported a ‘positive shift’ in the housing market sentiment, with new buyer enquiries and agreed sales moving into positive territory, reflecting an overall improvement in market conditions as new instructions also saw an uptick.

Kim Kinnaird, Director, Halifax Mortgages, commented on the HPI and wider market data: “These figures continue to suggest a relatively stable start to 2024 and align with other promising signs of increased housing activity, such as mortgage approvals.

Despite this encouraging news and continued growth, Kinnard wasn’t overly optimistic about the year ahead, saying: “Although lower mortgage rates, alongside expectations of Bank of England interest rate cuts this year, should help buyer confidence in the short term, the downward trend on rates is showing signs of fading. Even with growing wages and inflation falling back, raising a deposit and affording a sizeable mortgage remains challenging, especially for those looking to join the property ladder, so it remains a possibility that there could be a slowdown in the housing market this year.”



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Alex Wright, Editor