The Office for National Statistics has released the latest House Price Index, covering January 2017 and providing the first look at how the market is performing this year.
Average house prices in the UK have increased by 6.2% in the year to January 2017 (up from 5.7% in the year to December 2016), continuing the strong growth seen since the end of 2013. However, this still remains below the average annual house price growth seen in 2016 of 7.4%. The average UK house price was £218,000 in January 2017. This is £13,000 higher than in January 2016 and £1,000 higher than last month.
The main contribution to the increase in UK house prices came from England, where house prices increased by 6.5% over the year to January 2017, with the average price in England now £235,000. Wales saw house prices increase by 4.2% over the last 12 months to stand at £146,000. In Scotland, the average price increased by 4.0% over the year to stand at £142,000. The average price in Northern Ireland currently stands at £125,000, an increase of 5.7% over the last 12 months.
On a regional basis, London continues to be the region with the highest average house price at £491,000, followed by the South East and the East of England, which stand at £319,000 and £279,000 respectively. The lowest average price continues to be in the North East at £124,000.
CEO of eMoov.co.uk, Russell Quirk commented:
“Although mortgage based indices like Halifax and Nationwide offer an indication on how the market is behaving, this first set of 2017 data from the Government provides a concrete look on how the market has emerged from an up and down 2016.”
“Despite the seasonal lull towards the end of the year, prices have continued their upward trend and the market looks strong heading into 2017. This continued growth does hinge on next Wednesday’s triggering of Article 50 however. Although many predict an apocalyptic end to the world, there is also a chance it will further stabilise the market as the current period of Brexit limbo experienced since last June will finally come to a close.”
“In many cases, the uncertainty of an outcome can be far more detrimental than the outcome itself and it is clear that many buyers and sellers have been holding tight on a sale until a decision is made. Despite this, it is actually the markets like the South East and London in particular where the most detrimental impacts of Brexit have been forecast that have continued to see the strongest price growth.”
Alex Gosling, CEO, online estate agents HouseSimple.com, points to the growth areas of the capital, “The London Olympics may be a distant memory but the Olympic legacy is still having a massive impact on the region. Waltham Forest and Newham have both struck gold with the highest annual average price rises of anywhere in the country. These were boroughs in need of regeneration, and families and first-time buyers are now moving there thanks to the improvements in infrastructure and local amenities.
“Of course, this will be galling to many homeowners in the rest of the country who haven’t seen any positive impact from staging the Olympics. They will be thinking why them and not us. Londoners have already enjoyed massive house price rises without getting a helping hand from the Olympic effect.”
“Overall, January was a strong month for UK house prices and we saw a surge in sellers marketing their properties. The worry will be that now a date for Article 50 has been announced, the housing market may hit the buffers. Although the doom-mongers were saying that about Brexit, and the slowdown never materialised. It seems the UK property market is proving remarkably resilient to shock economic news, and there’s no reason it can’t absorb the fallout over the coming months from Article 50 being triggered.”