ONS: UK average house prices increased by 1.1% since February 2019
According to the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) UK House Price Index, February 2020 saw an increase in average house prices by 1.1% compared to one year previous.
This was down from a 1.5% increase from January 2019 to January 2020.
Over the past three years, there has been a general slowdown in UK house price growth, driven primarily by a slowing in both the South and East of England.
Average house prices increased year-on-year by 0.8% in England, to £246,000, 3.5% in Wales, to £164,000, 2.5% in Scotland, to £151,000, and 2.5% in Northern Ireland, to £140,000.
The only negative annual growth rate was seen in the East of England (-1.0%); this is the first negative annual growth rate experienced by a UK region since November 2019.
Average house prices, not seasonally adjusted, peaked in the latter half of 2019.
The average UK house price was £230,000 in February 2020, £2,000 higher than February 2019.
On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, prices decreased by 0.6% between January and February 2020; seasonally adjusted, this figure stands at 0.3%.
This followed an increase of 0.3% in the previous month.
London was the region in England with the highest annual house price growth, rising 2.3% to £477,000 in the year to February, up from 1.3% in January.
While London house prices remained the highest, the North East continued to have the lowest average house price in England, at £125,000.
The North East is also the only region yet to surpass its pre-economic downturn peak of July 2007.
On the subject of the impact of COVID-19 on the data, the ONS reported that the price collection for this publication was largely unaffected.
Nigel Purves, chief operating officer of Wayhome, said: “As this index is tracking house prices in February, it doesn’t take into account the ongoing effects of COVID-19 and therefore the continuing impact on all walks of life.
“We therefore must monitor these figures closely over the next few months as they start to tell us more.
“In the meantime, protecting everyone’s health must be top of the agenda until we manage to come out the other side of this crisis.
“However, it is worth observing how much more critical the safety net that comes with homeownership has become during this period.
“Once life returns to at least a degree of normality, it’s almost certain that more people will be longing for the security that comes with being a home owner.
“To help, we’ll need to see steps taken towards encouraging innovation in the property market which will help more people get onto the ladder.”
Anna Clare Harper, co-founder of property fund Anglo Residential, said: “In this fast-changing environment, statistics from just eight weeks ago now appear hopelessly outdated.
“The good news is the data reflects a positive underlying trajectory of improving confidence.
“However, the housing market is effectively ‘on hold’ under lockdown. With ‘material uncertainty’ quoted by RICS, the industry’s official valuation body, it is clearly difficult to gauge what will happen next.
“With many transactions paused or terminated, this will create opportunities for savvy investors.
“Underlying demand for quality, affordable and safe housing has not changed, regardless of what is coming to be known as the Global Health Crisis.”