The latest house price index from LSL Property Services and Acadata has found that most regions saw annual price rises although average month on month growth (apart from in August) continued to slow, with a 0.1% drop in September and 0.9% increase over the year – the lowest level in six and a half years.
The average price in England and Wales remains above the £300,000 mark, and is up almost £3,000 on a year ago, now standing at £302,626.
Almost every region has seen a significant slowdown in the rate of annual growth. Likewise, transactions remain weak, down 16% from August, with an estimated 72,500 sales in September.
The South East, so far, is the only region showing a fall, however, with prices down a modest 0.1%.
Oliver Blake, managing director of Your Move and Reeds Rains estate agents, said: “The Chancellor will face a difficult balancing act for housing when he comes to do his Budget at the end of this month. He’ll probably be keen to tackle the continuing problems with affordability whilst addressing ways to stimulate the market.”
Apart from Greater London, the West Midlands and East Midlands led the way in terms of annual house price growth with a 2.9% and 2.3% rise respectively. Every local authority in both regions shows positive annual growth other than Stoke on Trent in the former (flat at 0%) and Nottingham in the latter (down 1.4%). Herefordshire, up 4.1% annually, and the West Midlands conurbation (up 4.0%) were the top performing areas in the West Midlands, while Rutland, up 4.5% annually, saw the strongest growth in the East Midlands. At 5.8%, it also recorded the highest monthly increase of any authority in England and Wales in August.
Neither region had any area that can match the performance over the last year in Monmouthshire, Wales, however. Despite a slight slowdown in August, with monthly prices down 1.5%, they are up 12.2% annually, the highest in England and Wales for the third month running. That’s despite the fact that the area is already the most expensive local authority area in Wales. The average price paid for a detached home there has risen from £340k in August 2017 to £380k one year later.
Combined with strong performance from Newport, which is up 9.3% annually, means Wales is the only other region with annual growth to top 2.0%.
Along with Powys and Rhondda Cynon Taf, all three of these local authorities also set new peak prices in August – half of all those to do so. The others were Southend-on-Sea (up 1.5% annually) in the East, Merseyside in the North West (up 2.7%), and North Lincolnshire in Yorks & Humber (up 5% annually).
Despite the latter’s strong performance, Yorks & Humber actually saw growth slow in August, with annual price rises falling from 2.3% to 1.5%. Much of that is down to the slowdown in South Yorkshire, down from 3.3% in July to 0.5% in August.
It is still showing annual growth, though, unlike the South East. Prices there are down 0.1% annually, with Windsor and Maidenhead, down 6.1% annually, and Slough, down 7.7% (the biggest drop in any region), the big fallers. West Berkshire, up 5.2%, and the Isle of Wight, up 3.0%, were among those bucking the trend.
Overall, however, 73 of the 108 unitary authority areas in England and Wales still show prices rising over the year (six less than in July).