House prices increase by nearly 5% since last year as growth slows

Reporter:

Staff Reporter

House prices are around £10,000 higher on average than a year ago but the annual pace of growth is slowing, official figures show.

Average house prices across the UK increased by 4.9% in the year to June, down from 5% growth in the year to May, according to figures released jointly by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Land Registry and other bodies.

Bucking the general upward trend, average house prices in the City of London have plunged by 20.3% over the past year - making it the weakest-performing local district in the UK for annual price growth in June.

The average house price in the City of London in June was £724,000.

The report said across the UK annual growth rate in house prices has slowed since mid-2016 but has remained broadly around 5% this year so far.

The ONS said the average UK house price was £223,000 in June - around £10,000 higher than in June 2016. Property values increased by 0.8% between May and June.

England continues to be the main driver of house price growth, with prices there increasing by 5.2% over the year to June to reach £240,000 on average.

Wales saw house prices increase by 3.6% over the previous 12 months to stand at £152,000 on average.

In Scotland, the average price increased by 2.9% over the year to stand at £144,000.

The average price in Northern Ireland currently stands at £129,000, having increased by 4.4% over the previous year.

Within England, the pace of price growth over the 12 months to June ranged from increases of 7.2% in the East of England and 7.1% in the East Midlands to, at the other end of the spectrum, 2.5% in the North East and 2.9% in London.

The local authority showing the largest annual price growth in the year to June was Scotland's Orkney Islands, where prices increased by 27.9% to stand at £148,000 on average.

But the also report cautioned low transaction numbers in the Orkneys and some London boroughs - including the City of London - can cause volatility in the figures.

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and former residential chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics), said: "What we are seeing on the ground is a determination to get on with property transactions even if that means negotiating harder to make sure they go through.

"Looking forward we don't expect to see any significant changes but it is a good time to do business when expectations are relatively flat and the market is left to more serious buyers and sellers."

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said that while mortgage rates remain "exceptionally low", average re-mortgage pricing has started edging upwards in the past few weeks.

He added: "So those holding off in the hope of an even cheaper deal may be disappointed if they delay much longer."

Sarah Beeny, owner of estate agent, Tepilo.com, said of the general UK house price increases: "This type of growth is much more sustainable and I expect it to continue throughout the rest of this year and into next."

See full story in the Leader

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