Your Move and Acadata have reported that average house prices rose again in February, up 0.5% over the month – making it the biggest rise in five months.
The North West, East Midlands, South West and Wales all recorded new peak average prices in the month.
Annually, however, price growth continued to slow, slipping to 0.6% from 0.7% in January 2018. The South East and London, however, weigh on the market, with annual prices up 2.5% excluding those regions.
It leaves the average value of a home in England & Wales at £299,556, up £1,512 compared to one month earlier, and £1,700 compared to a year ago.
Whilst there have been monthly increases in house prices for the last two months, the annual rate of growth has slowed in England and Wales. Although its beginnings were in London, this has now spread to the South East and North East too. All three have seen prices fall on an annual basis.
Even excluding London and the South East, the annual growth rate of 2.5% today is far below the peak recorded two years ago in February 2016 – which was then at 6.7% (or 9% including the capital and South East, which were then powering growth in the market).
Your Move says there is reason for optimism, however. First, other regions remain robust, including the South West, and the North West which now leads the growth table for the first time, with prices here up 4.6% annually. Second, the rate of decline in annual prices seems to be flattening out.
Oliver Blake, managing director of Your Move and Reeds Rains estate agents, said: “When examining the bigger picture, house prices are steadily balancing to meet the needs of house buyers which is welcome news for those looking to take their first steps onto the property ladder.
“However, housing supply in the UK isn’t meeting demand and there is still a bottleneck of available properties. The industry needs to work together to provide a long-term solution to increase movement within the market. By building more homes and introducing more initiatives for each stage of the property lifecycle we should start to see more choice for first time buyers, second steppers and last-time buyers.”