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Annual house price growth in England and Wales fell back into single figures, as house prices paused in December, the latest index shows. Values in London and the South East are cooling but price growth across other regions remains steady, according to the LSL Property Services/Acadata index. Overall prices are up 9.6% year on year to an average of £278,997 but there was no change month on month. However, when London and the South East is excluded from the figures then the monthly rise was 0.4%. The index data also shows that growth accelerated at top end of the market in 2014, but price rises slowed at the bottom of this sector. But total home sales across 2014 were up 18% year on year as stamp duty reforms boosted activity in December. ‘There was a brief interlude in the tempo of house price growth in December, with values pausing for breath after a chorus of uninterrupted monthly climbs since May 2013. On a monthly basis, property price inflation peaked last January, and has gently petered out over the course of the past year,’ said Adrian Gill, director of Reeds Rains and Your Move estate agents. ‘This has pruned annual house price growth back to single digit territory again, recording a steadier 9.6% rise in average property values in England and Wales in the year ending December, down from 10.6% recorded in November,’ he added. He pointed out that there has been an about turn in the South East of the country, and London in particular. ‘Property values in the capital and surrounding areas are beginning to concede ground after significant advancement over the last year. Average house prices dropped in a third of all London boroughs in the month to November, with Southwark experiencing the sharpest fall in average values of 3.1%,’ said Gill. He also pointed out that monthly house price growth has continued if the exceptional London and South East regions are excluded from the calculations. Similarly, annual price rises across England and Wales are stable when these regions are omitted, as home values across the rest of the country stand firm and continue forward on their calmer trajectory. ‘But it’s not just geography that disrupts the march of house price growth across England and Wales. It is the most expensive properties that are showing the strongest gains in value, while the rate of price growth is slowing among cheaper homes,’ he explained. ‘Properties worth over £250,000 have seen average annual growth of 10.7%. But those valued below £153,000 have typically witnessed a year on year price increase of just 2.9%. As the two paths of growth diverge, this is widening the gap between the different rungs of the housing ladder,’ he said. He explained that 2014 was the year of the first time buyer, with the second Help to Buy scheme offering further assistance to aspiring home owners throughout the country, and ensured that many potential buyers could still navigate around the… Continue reading →
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