It’s time for a retrospective look at the UK’s housing market
As 2019 comes to an end, it’s time for a retrospective look at the UK’s housing market. On the whole, 2019 has been characterised by fluctuation and marked regional differences.
Starting with residential property prices, this year has experienced a slight increase when compared to the previous year’s values. According to HM Land Registry data, by September 2019 the average home in the UK was priced at nearly £235,000. This figure represents a 1.3% increase over 2018 prices. The highest increases were for semi-detached properties and flats.
Another trend that was evidenced nationwide involved a slowdown in buyer demand, as measured in the number of enquiries and also in the number of new listings. The number of enquiries was down for 3 consecutive months and showed a cumulative 9% decline, with the exception of enquiries in Northern Ireland, which were on the rise. This may be partly attributed to ongoing political uncertainty, which has led buyers and sellers prefer to take a cautious approach and postpone decision making to see if better prices or incentive are on the horizon.
Linked to this, towards the end of the year the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors published a report suggesting a stagnation in overall activity levels in the residential market, evidenced in a decline in the number of transactions. However, and despite being lower than previous year, this metric has been improving over 2019 and experts suggest it may lead to higher prices in the near future.
Below is a more detailed overview of the key trends and of what can be expected as we near the end of 2019.
Property Prices 2019: A Regional Breakdown
A breakdown of prices by region revealed that the strongest annual increase took place in Northern Ireland, where property prices rose by 4%. Prices also rose in Scotland, Wales, Yorkshire and Humber, and the North of England.
At the other end of the scale is London, where prices actually fell even if only by a modest 0.4%. A drop in prices was also observed in the North West, the South East, South Wales, and the East of England.
The areas commanding the highest average prices remain unchanged: London (£474,000), East of England (£291,000), and the South East (£329,000). On the other hand, regions where prices were significantly below the national average included Northern Ireland (£139,000), North East (£132,000), Scotland (£155,000), and Yorkshire and the Humber (£165,000).
UK Housing Market 2019: Average Prices By Type Of Property
During 2019, there were no surprises in terms of prices based on property type. The priciest properties were detached homes, coming at an average of £354,000, followed by semi-detached homes at £222,000. Flats and maisonettes came third at £209,000 and last were terraced homes, averaging £189,000.
The highest growth rates belong to semi-detached, flats, and maisonettes. In particular, there was a noticeable increase in prices for new builds, which during 2019 grew by 4.6%.
What’s in Store for UK Property Prices?
Overall, market analysts remain optimistic. In fact, many expect that the current trend will be reversed and predict an increase in average house prices during 2020, especially from the spring onwards. However, this increase is unlikely to be dramatic and the general consensus is that it will average 2% across the country. And as demand continues to outstrip supply, a gradual acceleration of the market more likely, making a stronger case for residential property price increases.