The latest house price index from LSL Property Services/Acadata has revealed that the rate of annual house price growth slowed for the tenth successive month in March to 0.7%, compared to 5.1% a year ago.
The average house price in England and Wales is now £301,490, up £130 on a month earlier and just £1,985 up on a year ago.
However, prices are falling in London and the South East yet continuing to grow elsewhere. Six out of the 10 regions have recently set new peak average prices.
Oliver Blake, managing director of Your Move and Reeds Rains estate agents, said: “The slowdown in London and the South East is now well established. Yet the performance of many of our key cities and regions elsewhere shows that there’s still life in the market yet.”
The market’s significantly slowed since its peak in February 2016, when house prices were growing at 9.0% annually, but the slowdown is much more pronounced in London and the South East than elsewhere. Excluding those two regions, the rest of England and Wales has seen prices grow at a more solid 2.6%, and other cities continue to power on, such as Bristol, with 8.4% annual growth.
Even within London, there are striking exceptions to the general trend: Kensington and Chelsea, for instance, has seen prices increase by close to a third in the last year.
And, whilst transactions levels are down, with an estimated 63,500 completed in March, that’s 6% higher than February.
Prices in London fell for the third month in a row in February, dropping by 0.7% to leave the average property in the capital worth £602,539, down 1.5% on last year.
Unlike previous months, price falls are no longer concentrated in the most expensive boroughs: the top 11 of London’s 33 boroughs have actually seen the smallest fall over the twelve months to March, down just 0.2%, compared to 4% among the mid-priced boroughs and 0.3% in the cheapest 11.
This is, however, almost entirely due to a massive 30.7% annual increase in the average price in Kensington and Chelsea, London’s most expensive borough – and that largely the result of just seven high value property sales. These transactions, each for prices over £10 million, pushed the average price in the borough to a new peak of £2,570,950. By contrast, other high end areas have seen big falls in the last 12 months, including a 15.9% drop in prices in Wandsworth, 14.7% for Richmond upon Thames and 11.4% in the City of London.
Overall, cheaper property in London does remain more robust, with the 11 lowest priced areas accounting for almost half the 11 boroughs to still report increases in the last year. That includes the two very cheapest – Bexley, and Barking and Dagenham (with prices up 3.4% and 3.3%, respectively). Only Redbridge, the 12th cheapest borough in London, grew stronger, up 6.2%. Redbridge was also the only borough, other than Kensington and Chelsea, to set a new peak average price in the month.
Outside London, it is hard to spot the slowdown in property prices. At least nine of the major cities in England & Wales set new peak prices in February, led by Bristol in the South West with 8.4% annual growth, but with cities across England and Wales showing strong growth. They include Merseyside (up 5.7%) and Greater Manchester (5.1%) in the North West; Leicester (5.8%) and Derby (4.0%) in the East Midlands; the West Midlands conurbation, which includes Birmingham (3.5%); West Yorkshire, with Leeds, in Yorks and Humber (3.7%); and Cardiff in Wales (up 5.8%).