House prices saw sharpest drop in London and the South East last year

Michael Lloyd

January 2, 2019

Towns and cities in London and the South East saw the biggest house price drops in 2018, Halifax has found.

Whilst Middlesbrough was last place, losing 6% in value over the year (£8,920), 14 of the top 20 house price losers were in towns in London and the South East.

Russell Galley, managing director, Halifax, said: “This year marks a significant shift away from the traditional dominance of London and the South in our annual house price table, with other locations now filling the top 20 spots.

“Scotland and Wales are well represented, with the Scottish town of Livingston sharing top spot and Bridgend in Wales taking fifth place.

“Towns in East Anglia, West Midlands, the North West and Yorkshire and the Humber also feature prominently, showing that solid investments can be found away from the capital.”

Houses in Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire dropped 5% in value whilst towns like Watford, Romford and Havering, all based around London, saw a 2% fall in value in 2018.

Blackburn (4%), Ipswich (3%), St Helens (3%), Lincoln (3%) and Doncaster (2%) were the only other towns outside of London and the South East to be included in the 20 biggest losers.

The majority of top performers were comprised of towns in Scotland, Wales, and North and central England.

Ashford and Livingston both saw house price increases of 10.5%, or three times the national average, placing them top of the winners table.

Scotland was also represented by Edinburgh, which has seen house prices grow 8.6% this year. Bridgend and Cardiff in Southern Wales saw increases of 8.3% and 7.5% respectively, whilst towns like Warrington (7.8%), Stockport (6.8%) and Leeds (6.1%) represent the North.

Just last year, 15 of the top 20 house price performers were based in London and Southern England. This year, just five make the list, and none of these are based in London. Alongside Ashford, fellow southern towns Reading (9.5%), Maidstone (6.9%), Dagenham (6%) and Basingstoke (5.8%) made the grade.

All towns in the top 20 list outperformed the national average of 3.3% increase since 2017.

Properties within Greater London suffered worst in 2018 with four local authorities making up the top 10 losers. Houses in Greenwich (-3%), Sutton (-3%), Harrow (-2%), and Kingston-upon-Thames (-2%) all saw property prices slide.

Galley added: “The majority of towns in which house prices have dropped in the last year are situated within in Greater London, marking a dramatic turnaround in fortunes.

‘’It is well documented that house prices in many areas of London are experiencing challenging conditions following very strong historic price growth.

“The large deposits required for London homes , a weak relative supply of housing and of course the current economic uncertainty will all have played a part in 2018.”

The average house price in four towns across the UK has increased by over £20,000. In Ashford, the average house price has increased by £29,983 since 2017.

Solihull sat second on the list in terms of growth in real cash at £23,772, followed by Edinburgh (£21,029) and Maidstone (£20,870).

Of all towns included in the analysis, 25 recorded declines in house prices in 2018, with the largest fall in Aylesbury from £328,136 in 2017 to £311,186 in 2018 (-£16,950).


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