Annual house prices up 6.4% says Land Registry
Fri 29 Jan 2016
The December data from the Land Registry has shown an annual price increase of 6.4%, taking the averageproperty value in England and Wales to 188,270.
The data revealed that monthly house prices rose by 1.2% since November 2015.
As predicted, London once again experienced the greatest increase in its average property value over 12 monthswith a movement of 12.4%.
London also experienced the greatest monthly growth with an increase of 2.1%
The average price of property in the capital is 514,097 in comparison with the average for England and Wales of188,270.
At the other end of the spectrum, the North East saw the lowest annual price growth with an increase of 0.8% andWales saw the most significant monthly price fall with a decrease of 0.8%.
According to the report, the number of property transactions has decreased over the last year. From July 2014 toOctober 2014 there was an average of 84,517 sales per month. In the same months a year later, the figure was80,691.
Stuart Law , CEO at Assetz for Investors, comments: Areas in London such as Kensington and Chelsea andHammersmith and Fulham are continuing to experience particularly low annual house price growth. Reforms tostamp duty at the upper levels is the key driver behind this slowdown which can be seen in the fact that salestransactions in the capital for properties valued at over 1.5 million have fallen on an annual basis. Londoncapital growth is peaking, or indeed has already peaked, in many of these prime central London areas whichmeans that for investors who want their property to work hard for them, London is no longer an attractiveprospect.
For buy-to-let investors looking to minimise the impact of the 3% additional stamp duty levy on second homesand investment property, as well as the new tax on mortgage interest, there are now alternatives that need to belooked at. Property prices in areas outside of the capital including Manchester and Liverpool are far from theirhouse price growth peak. For example, in Liverpool and Manchester, it is possible to buy an average home foraround 100,000 and property price growth is still strong in December prices were up 6.1% and 5.9% in thesecities respectively. As well as this investors can expect very healthy yields of up to 5.7%, which is significantlybetter than London and able to compensate well for the new mortgage interest tax as it comes in over the next 4years.
Peter Rollings , CEO of Marsh & Parsons, comments: Property values were climbing right up to the wire in 2015,giving homeowners a last-minute confidence boost around Christmas. Buyers also had plenty of reasons to feelpositive, following the Chancellors Autumn Statement proclamations and the persistence of low mortgage rates.This optimism on both sides of the fence was combining to stimulate activity throughout the housing market.
London house prices have travelled the farthest distance over the past year, with growth well into double-digit territory fuelled mainly via price rises outside prime central London. But the housing market in the capital has alsohad some of the biggest obstacles thrown in its way, and so were still looking at substantially reduced price risesin the centre. Compared to a year ago, million pound property sales have slipped back 2% in the capital sincestamp duty reform levied higher taxes at the middle and top-end of the property market. Both buyers and sellers at that level are having to be more price sensitive, and adjust their expectations. It remains to be seen how thesecond wave of stamp duty change targeted at buy-to-let investors may similarly distort the London market butin the short-term, well see a rush of demand from landlords and second home purchasers in the run up to April,which means heightened competition for first-time buyers.
Richard Sexton , director of chartered surveyor e.surv, comments: The figures suggest a slowdown in sales, asthe lack of homes on the market starts to impact on property chains. Its a vicious circle the lack of listings isdissuading many homeowners from moving, so instead some families may be choosing to renovate and extendproperties to suit their changing needs. This further diminishes the choice on offer.
A shortage of homes for sale is particularly difficult for those looking to get onto the ladder for the first time, asthe stock of affordable homes shrinks. Incentives to encourage last-time buyers to downsize and free-up familyhomes, to create more movement in property chains and allow families the options they need may help forexample, reducing stamp duty fees for those choosing to downsize would be one way to encourage this.
With demand remaining strong, now is a terrific time for sellers, who are seeing their properties command strongprices. The areas surrounding the capital in particular the South East and East Anglia are being lifted bydemand patterns rippling out from London, as buyers look to bag more affordable deals outside of the capital.The strong jobs market in areas like Cambridge and Reading is also a honeypot encouraging many to move intothese areas.
Andrew Bridges , managing director of Stirling Ackroyd, comments, London is once again the star performer ofthe house price story. International trends will always have an impact on this global hub, but the capital of thecultural world is shaking off volatility and once more housing is in the heat of the London spotlights.
This is a positive turn and a sign of voracious demand for homes and offices. Success should be applauded. ButLondon has to make good this opportunity. In a city with a serious shortage of homes, progress will always betempered with the bittersweet plot of sharpening purchase prices and rising rents.
There are two sides to this story. Rising property prices are lifting balance sheets in Barking faster than they areraising the bar in Richmond. Sellers across the capital are able to get excellent deals when they find the rightbuyer. But buyers are facing a difficult search and will need to look to new quarters for the next act or their firstbreak.
Future generations of young residents who will mould the culture and direction of London may never be ableto afford the centre of the city again. So the city centre is moving. London needs to keep working for new homes,to avoid being typecast as an expensive or a static option.
Nick Leeming , Chairman at Jackson-Stops & Staff, said: The latest house price data from the Land Registryshows the continuing impact of higher levels of stamp duty on the upper echelons of the property market. Theannual fall in sales transactions in the higher price bandings reflects the fact that many people at this level have been deterred from selling up and moving because of the transactional costs; a trend which eventually filtersdown to the mid-markets, reducing the number of step-up homes available. With the other end of the market,first-time buyers, being stimulated by low interest rates and supportive government policies like Help-to-Buy theoverall effect is a stifling one.
Only the oxygen of new homes at all price levels will get the housing market turning over at healthy volumesagain. The high level of demand for homes, coupled with limited supply, is driving up prices and we can now seethat across 2015 house prices increased by a significant 6.4% or 11,325 in money terms. All regions ofEngland and Wales saw annual growth in prices in December. This is good news for owner-occupiers who will beseeing their property making them a healthy profit, but is of course less positive for long term affordability.