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Annual house price growth slows across the UK

Annual house price growth slows across the UK

Annual UK house price growth is slowing down, with data showing a decrease in all UK countries over the 12 months to July.

According to data from the Office for National Statistics, average house prices increased by 5.6 per cent in England, down from 6.1 per cent in the year to June; 0.3 per cent in Wales, down from 0.8 per cent; and 7.4 per cent in Northern Ireland, down from 9 per cent.

House prices also fell by 1.3 per cent in Scotland over the last 12 months, compared with an annual fall of 0.6 per cent last month.

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As a whole, house prices across the UK increased by 5.2 per cent in the year to July, down from 5.7 per cent in the year to June. The average UK house price stood at £282,000 in July, the data showed.

In England, annual house price increases were driven by an annual increase in the east of 8.3 per cent and the south east of 6.7 per cent. Excluding London and the south east, UK house prices increased by 4.4 per cent in the 12 months to July 2015.

The data also showed that prices paid by first-time buyers were 4.4 per cent higher on average than in July 2014, while for owner-occupiers, prices increased by 5.5 per cent for the same period.

Jonathan Adams, director of prime central London estate agency Napier Watt, said that the national average masks significant regional differences and should be regarded with a healthy dose of scepticism.

“The housing market is fragmented with higher-value properties struggling to sell as international buyers become more fickle and scared off by the tax incurred when purchasing high value residential property.

“There is very much a ripple effect - the action has moved out from prime central London to the outskirts and those commuter areas where there is better value to be had, although not as much if prices continue to rise as they have been.”

He pointed out that the ONS data also has a “significant time lag” and the market is now very different to that in July.

Meanwhile, the Council of Mortgage Lenders’ latest figures revealed house purchase lending was up 9 per cent in July on last year.

First-time buyers saw a month-on-month increase by volume and by value in activity compared to June (5 per cent) and a year-on-year (7 per cent) increase to £4.6bn, compared to July 2014.

Home mover lending saw larger monthly (15 per cent) and annual (10 per cent) increases than first-time buyers by volume and by value, up to £7.6bn.

Remortgage activity saw a slight dip month-on-month (-4 per cent) to £5.1bn, but substantial increases when compared to the same month in 2014 (34 per cent).

Meanwhile, buy-to-let continued to grow year-on-year (34 per cent) and month-on-month (14 per cent) to £1.6bn, mainly driven by buy-to-let remortgage activity.

donia.o’loughlin@ft.com