House prices continue to slow in April: ONS

The housing market continued to slow in April, according to the latest house price data from the Office of National Statistics.

These figures – based on Land Registry data – show that house prices increased by just 3.9 per cent in the year to April 2018.

This was down on the annual increase seen the month before (4.2 per cent) and is the lowest annual rate since March 2017, when the figure stood at 3.7 per cent.

The average property in the UK is now priced at £227,000. This is £9,000 higher than in April 2017 and £3,000 higher than the previous month.

The ONS says that the annual growth rate has slowed since the middle of 2016 and has remained under 5 per cent throughout 2017 and 2018 (with the exception of October 2017).

While all property types increased in value in the year to April, the weakest growth was in the price of flats and maisonettes. These increased by just 1 per cent in the year to April 2018, with the average flat now priced at £202,000.

This compares to an annual growth of 5.3 per cent for semi-detached houses.

The ONS says the weaker growth in the price of flats and maisonettes was driven by negative annual growth in London for this property type. London accounts for around 25 per cent of all flats and maisonette transactions in the UK.

Looking at the individual countries, house prices in Scotland are growing at the fastest rate, increasing by 5.6 per cent over the past 12 months. The average property in Scotland is now priced at £149,000.

House prices in Wales rose by 4.4 per cent, to give an average property price of £156,000. In contrast,  prices in England rose by 3.7 per cent, with the average property now priced at £244,000.

Figures in Northern Ireland are calculated on a slightly different basis. According to the ONS the average property in the country is now priced at £130,000, an increase of 4.2 per cent over the year to the first quarter of 2018.

Within the English regions, house prices in the South West have grown fastest over the last 12 months, rising by 6.1 per cent. This was followed by the West Midlands (5.9 per cent).

The lowest annual growth was again in London, where prices increased by just 1 per cent over the year. London has shown a general slowdown in its annual growth rate since mid-2016 according to ONS figures.

The second-lowest annual growth was in the North West, where prices increased by 2.4 per cent to the year April 2018.

Landbay chief executive John Goodall says: “House prices growth may be beginning to slow down but affordability remains a concern for many aspiring homeowners struggling to get a foot on the ladder. Insufficient housebuilding is restricting the number of homes available for sale and when demand begins to pick up again, this will create pressure on prices.” 

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