Average UK house price edged down by £1,000 in January

Aerial view of houses (PA Wire)
11:16am, Wed 24 Mar 2021
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The average house price edged down by £1,000 in January, from a record high in December, official figures show.

Across the UK, the average property value in January was £249,000, which was down from a record high of £250,000 in December, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

However, the average house price in January was still £17,000 higher than in January 2020.

Annual house price growth was slower in January than it had been in December.

UK average house prices increased by 7.5% over the year to January, compared with an 8% increase in December.

Average house prices increased over the year in England to £267,000 (a 7.5% annual increase), in Wales to £179,000 (9.6%), in Scotland to £164,000 (6.9%) and in Northern Ireland to £148,000 (5.3%).

Within England, house prices in the North West recorded the highest annual growth in average house prices – at 12%. It marked the highest annual growth rate the North West has seen since June 2005.

The West Midlands had the lowest growth, at 4.7%.

The average house price in London increased by 5.3% over the year to January, up from 4.5% in December.

London’s average house prices remain the most expensive of any region in the UK, at an average of £501,000 in January.

The ONS said recent price increases may reflect a range of factors including pent-up demand, changes in housing preferences since the pandemic and a response to the changes made to property transaction taxes, such as stamp duty, across the nations.

Reflecting the demand for more space, the average price of detached homes increased by 8.6% in the year to January, in comparison with flats and maisonettes increasing by 2.6% over the same period.

In early March, it was confirmed that in England and Northern Ireland, a current stamp duty tax holiday would be extended until June 30 after which the threshold will decrease to £250,000 until September 30.

From October 1, the stamp duty thresholds will revert back to what they were before the stamp duty holiday started last July.

The equivalent property tax holiday for Scotland is due to end on March 31. The tax holiday has been extended until June 30 in Wales.

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: “The housing market continued to be buoyant in January, although annual growth slipped slightly to 7.5%, down from 8% in December.

“This was before the Chancellor announced the extension to the stamp duty holiday so there may have been buyers who took their foot off the gas in the belief that they were too late to take advantage.”

Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “The market was technically open for business (in January), but many sellers weren’t keen to let people traipse through their home, buyers hadn’t yet had the good news of the stamp duty holiday extension, and even when sales were agreed, the same old problems kicked in, with the sales process flowing like treacle.”

Nitesh Patel, strategic economist at Yorkshire Building Society, said: “The dash for space continues at pace as buyers snap up larger homes, adding upward pressure on prices.

“In the past year the price of detached homes has grown by 8.6% compared to 2.6% for flats – three times the rate.

“Since March 2020, the popularity of detached homes has grown, now accounting for 28% of all home sales, up from 22%. Flats now account for a smaller share at 12%, down from 17% over the period.”

He added: “We expect demand to stay at an elevated level relative to supply, and as a result adding further pressure on prices.”

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