The average price of a house in Wales was £151,821 in April, an increase of £310 (0.2%) from January, but a fall of £219 from last month, according to the latest house price index for Wales from LSL Property Services/Acadametrics.
Richard Sexton, director of e.surv, part of LSL Property Services, said that unlike the rest of Britain, the Welsh housing market remains in slow reverse.
He said: “Wales has seen the biggest annual average house price fall of any region: prices plummeted £2,048 in the past year. However, outside of Wales, only Londoners saw their houses rise significantly in value in April. Sales in Wales are depressed compared to England, but London is the exception, not the rule, so the dramatic comparison is unclear.
“The torpor in the Welsh market is due to inadequate mortgage availability for first-time buyers. Encouragingly, more Welsh buyers are making enquiries – and plans for new estate agency businesses are also rumoured, so the interest is there. It’s the inaccessibility of mortgage finance for the average buyer that’s reining in demand. High rents and growing inflation are reducing the amount first-time buyers can set aside to meet the large deposit requirements required by lenders.
“This has lead to the fall: average prices rolled backwards by £219 in the last month. Despite the positive start to this year prices now stand a long distance away – 10.8% lower – from their record peak in 2007. Even by historic standards it’s poor. And the sinking prices are bucking the usual summer trend of sales rising as the summer season begins.
“House sales are low, especially at the bottom end of the market. And strict mortgage requirements and lenders caution have made it tough to boost sales activity substantially which has also slowed down activity at the higher end of the market.”