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17th July, 2016

East of England is the country's new hot spot for house price growth: new report

UK house prices edged up in June, but uncertainty looms, according to LSL Property Services' latest House Price Index. After three months of falls, including a 0.9% dip in May, average prices in England and Wales saw a modest recovery, up 0.6%.

By the end of June, prices were 6% higher than a year ago with the average UK house sale now £293,444. The impact of Brexit, though, has yet to be felt.

Looking at regional variations, in May average house prices paid in the capital were down 1.4%. Thatís the third successive monthly drop and the biggest in cash terms (£8,400) since May 2011. Nevertheless, while annual house price growth in Greater London is down from 9.7% last month, itís still up 7.3% over the year.

Moreover, the country has a new hot spot for house price growth: the East of England region, led by commuter towns such as Luton and Thurrock. With annual growth of 21% and 16%, respectively, these continue to shrug off the uncertainty.

Greater London and the South East will remain a big part of the growth story in England and Wales, however. Without them annual house price inflation for the remaining regions would be 5.1%. Take out the East of England (boosted by commuters looking for cheaper alternatives outside London) as well, and growth would be just 3.6%. Instead it stands at 6%.

 

The outcome of the June 23rd vote had little effect on the latest figures, says LSL. Transactions in June were 13% lower than last year, but this was an improvement on May. Overall transaction levels are recovering after the slump that followed a rush to beat the 3% stamp duty surcharge on second homes and buy-to-let properties introduced in April.

Price falls in the previous three months, likewise, followed significant rises at the start of the year, led by buy-to-let and pied-a-terre properties. Now increasing again, they nevertheless remain below trend.

The impact of the stamp duty increase may now be largely played out, and thereís little evidence it has significantly hit investor appetite: first time landlords seem no less common and thereís new interest in mixed commercial and residential purchases, such as flats over shops that escape the increase.

With interest rates set to remain lower for longer, the Bank of England reducing banks' capital requirements and a change in government, the outlook for buy-to-let investors may remain positive.

According to Nationwide's June House Price Index, average house prices in England increased by 1.5% in Q2 2016, and were up 7.6% year-on-year, similar to the previous quarter.

There was a slight softening in annual price growth in Southern England compared with last quarter, although growth remained well above that in the north. Prices in Southern England (South West, Outer South East, Outer Metropolitan, London and East Anglia) were up 9.4% year-on-year, whilst in Northern England (West Midlands, East Midlands, Yorkshire & Humberside, North West and North) they increased by 2.6%.

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