House prices down 0.3 per cent

Robyn Hall

March 26, 2010

This is the fourth month in a row in which the figure has been positive and takes the average property value in England and Wales to £164,455.

The monthly change from January to February is a decrease of 0.3%.

Nine regions in England and Wales experienced increases in their average property values over the last 12 months.

The region with the highest annual price change is London with an increase of 11.9%.

The region with the most significant annual price fall was the North East with a movement of -2.3%.

The North West experienced the greatest monthly rise with a movement of 3.6 per cent. Wales was the region with the most significant monthly price fall with a movement of -2.4%.

The most up-to-date figures available show that during December 2009, the number of completed house sales in England and Wales rose by 89% to 73,889 from 39,138 in December 2008.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist said: “Land Registry data released today suggests house prices (in England and Wales) edged down in a very modest way in February.

“This is broadly consistent with most other reports of the behaviour of house prices last month.

“Despite this drop, the year on year gain in house prices continues to accelerate and now stands at 7%.

“The report does, however, note significant regional variations with London at the top of the tree showing an annual increase of 11.9% followed by the South East at 9.4%.

“By way of contrast, prices in the North East still appear on average to be lower than where they were in February 2009.

“The Land Registry also published completed sales numbers for December which confirm that there was a significant rush to take advantage of the ending of the stamp duty holiday on properties priced £175k or less.

“Looking forward, the modest pick-up in buyer enquiries detected in the latest RICS Housing Market Survey is likely to be reinforced by the decision in the budget to remove stamp duty on property purchases by first-time buyers.

“As a result, the drop in activity highlighted in the more timely mortgage approvals data is gradually likely to be reversed over the coming months.

“The increase in demand should moreover provide some renewed upward pressure on house prices although we expect this to be partly offset by the increasing amounts of property that is being put on the market.”

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