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England drags down house price growth

England drags down house price growth

Annual house price growth in the UK hit 1.4 per cent in March, with the south and east of England pulling down overall national increases, latest official data has shown.

The Office for National Statistics’ latest house price index, out today (May 22), showed the average price of a property in the UK was £227,000 in March — £3,000 higher than March 2018.

In terms of countries, England fared the worst. The average house price in England increased by 1.1 per cent in the year to March and now sits at £243,000.

By comparison, Scotland and Wales saw better growth throughout the year, increasing by 3.3 per cent and 3 per cent respectively, although the average house prices for both countries sit lower than in England at £149,000 and £159,000.

Northern Ireland, which remains the cheapest UK country in which to purchase a property with an average price of £135,000, saw growth of 3.5 per cent in the year to March 2019.

Despite this, Yorkshire and the Humber showed the highest annual growth of all regions, with prices increasing by 3.6 per cent in the year to March 2019, followed closely by the West Midlands at 3.4 per cent.

The capital saw the worst results with an annual fall of 1.9 per cent, although this was up on a 2.7 per cent annual decrease measured in February 2019.

The data mirrored figures from Rightmove out earlier this week (May 20), which showed that London performed worse than any other region in the UK when it came to price moves.

But while London house prices fell over the year, the area remained the most expensive place to purchase a property at an average price of £463,000.

In terms of expense, the city was closely followed by the south east and the east of England, at £318,000 and £287,000 respectively. 

The south east saw a slight drop in the average cost of a house compared with last year, while the east’s average property price tag was steady.

Lucy Pendleton, founder director of independent estate agents James Pendleton, said: "Continued price declines in the capital are helping to paint England as the sick man of the UK, with house prices in Scotland and Wales still accelerating way ahead of inflation. 

"London is also not the blueprint for the whole country, as a very different story is being told everywhere else."

Ms Pendleton added that a hot property market in the Midlands and north west was propping up the UK’s overall picture and said this showed that property was still a relatively safe long-term investment.

Chief executive of buy-to-let specialist Landbay, John Goodall, said despite the month’s slight uptick, the industry hadn’t seen the spring bounce it had hope to see.

He said: "For potential buyers this, combined with sustained wage growth and record low unemployment, means affordability is starting to improve. 

"However, transaction volumes remain stagnant in the face of Brexit uncertainty, and so the role of the private rental sector remains as important as ever.