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Halifax House Price Index

Amanda Jarvis

October 18, 2004

Regional House Prices — Third Quarter 2004

UNITED KINGDOM

* The top 10 property hotspots over the past year are all outside southern England with the exception of Hastings. Merthyr Tydfil in south Wales has recorded the biggest increase in prices (53%), followed by Bingley in West Yorkshire (46%). Wales features prominently with three towns (Merthyr Tydfil, Neath and Port Talbot) in the UK top 10.

* At a county level, Gwynedd in north Wales (40%) and West Glamorgan in south Wales (38%) have seen the biggest price rises over the last year. Wales and Scotland dominate the list of 10 counties recording the biggest price gains in the last 12 months with four in Wales (Gwynedd, West Glamorgan, Mid Glamorgan and Dyfed) and three in Scotland (Borders, Dumfries and Galloway and Highlands).

* The smallest house price rises have been in Cambridgeshire (6%), and East Sussex and Essex (both 7%), and Berkshire and West Sussex (both 8%). Nine of the 10 counties recording the smallest increases were in southern England.

* The differential between the average house price in London and the UK has fallen to its lowest for six years in percentage terms. The average price in the capital stood at 1.50 times the national average in 2004 Quarter 3 compared with a peak of 1.87 times in 2001 Quarter 3. The much stronger house price rises in northern Britain during the last three years has seen a significant narrowing in the north/south house price divide with the average price in London now less than twice that in the North compared with three times in 2002 Quarter 3. Nonetheless, the north/south divide remains wider than it was ten years’ ago when the average price in London was only 1.25 times the national average.

* Over the past year, the biggest price rises have been in Wales and northern England – Wales (38%), North (37%), North West (31%) and Yorkshire and the Humber (27%). Prices in London (8%) and the South East (11%) have seen the smallest gains.

* The average price in Northern Ireland broke through the £100,000 barrier for the first time in the third quarter to £106,445. Scotland remains the only part of the UK where the average price is below this mark (£99,904).

ABOUT THE HALIFAX HOUSE PRICE INDEX

The Halifax House Price Index is the UK’s longest running monthly house price series with data covering the whole country going back to January 1983. Quarterly regional indices are available from1983 Quarter 1. The Index is based on the lender’s mortgage offers. From this data, a “standardised” house price is calculated and property price movements on a like-for-like basis (including seasonal adjustments) are analysed over time. Properties over £1 million are included and the index is seasonally adjusted.

Commenting upon the housing market in the UK, Martin Ellis, Chief Economist, said: “Areas outside southern England have seen the strongest house price rises over the past year with parts of Wales, Scotland and northern England experiencing particularly buoyant conditions. The much stronger house price rises in northern Britain during the last three years have resulted in a significant narrowing in the north/south house price divide, although the gap remains wider than it was ten years’ ago.

Whilst prices continue to rise more rapidly in the north, there are increasing signs that house price inflation here is slowing as first-time buyers face similar difficulties to those in the south in buying a home, and as the effects of the recent series of interest rate rises bite. We expect this trend to continue over the coming months, with prices slowing most markedly in the north, contributing to slower UK house price inflation.”

The Halifax House Price Index is prepared from information that we believe is collated with care, but we do not make any statement as to its accuracy or completeness. We reserve the right to vary our methodology and to edit or discontinue the indices at any time for regulatory or other reasons. Persons seeking to place reliance on the indices for their own or third party commercial purposes do so at their own risk.

Prices shown in Table 3 are arithmetic average prices of houses – otherwise known as crude averages – on which an offer of mortgages has been granted. These prices are not standardised and therefore can be affected by changes in the sample from quarter to quarter — as such care should be taken when comparing prices. Figures include properties sold for £1 million plus.


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