House prices take a turn for the better

Written by Editorial Team
Last updated: 31st October 2019

Even a small amount of news is good news for UK home owners, after sales figures have spent so long in the doldrums.

This week the latest UK house price figures from the Office for National Statistics show that prices have risen by 1.3% over the year to August 2019.

That’s up again from the very marginal increase of 0.8% shown in July 2019, although it’s still below the price increases that home sellers were seeing this time last year.

Has everyone been sitting on the fence for too long?

Brexit uncertainty has certainly been discouraging sellers from putting their properties on the market – and possibly taking a significant price hit.

That ought to have meant it was a buyer’s market, encouraging homebuyers to line up their finances to bag a bargain. But it seems that many buyers have been concerned that prices will drop even lower, and they will turn out to have paid more than they needed to.

Plus, every buyer who is also a seller has been worried about how much they will have to discount their own home in order to move on.

Sam Mitchell, chief executive at Housesimple says, “Make no mistake, house price growth in the UK has suffered amid the ongoing uncertainty and political turmoil of late.”

It’s time to get moving

But people change jobs, have growing families, are keen to upsize or downsize. And sometimes it’s just time to make a move.

As Homesimple’s Sam Mitchell says “There are numerous factors that lead someone to buying a house, and regardless of the UK being in or out of the EU, people will still be looking to move up the property ladder.”

Mixed price picture across the country

The national price upturn is modest.

  • The average UK house price was £235,000 in August 2019: £3,000 higher than the previous year.

But any reversal of the previously depressing trend is encouraging.

And the national figures disguise much more promising movement in regional Britain.

Stronger growth in the regions

  • The strongest upturn has been in Wales, where prices increased 4.5% over the year.
  • Prices in Northern Ireland increased 3.5%, though it’s still the cheapest UK country for property-buying, with the average home costing £137,000.
  • And Scottish prices Scotland rose 1.6%.

Avoiding boom-and-bust in London

Meanwhile, prices in very-expensive London fell by 1.4%.

Gareth Lewis, commercial director of mortgage lender MT Finance, says: “It may be the case that London and the South East need more sensible levels of price growth in order to produce a more robust market, rather than boom and bust.”