Market pauses for breath
Annual price growth dropped from 10.6% in November to stand at 9.6% in December, with the average home costing £279,000.
Excluding London and the South East prices increased by 0.4% on a monthly basis, as London saw prices drop in a third of its boroughs, with Southwark’s home values falling by 3.1%.
Adrian Gill, director of Reeds Rains and Your Move estate agents, said: “There was a brief interlude in the tempo of house price growth in December, with values pausing for breath after a chorus of uninterrupted monthly climbs since May 2013.
“The recent Christmas chill has emanated from London and the South East.
“Typically, the South East pocket of the country has been out in front of the pack, but we’re seeing an about-turn.
“Property values in the capital and surrounding areas are beginning to concede ground after significant advancement over the last year.”
More expensive homes experienced higher growth, as homes worth over £250,000 saw prices increase by 10.7% annually compared to 2.9% for homes worth less than £153,000.
Gill added: “2014 was the year of the first-time buyer, with the second Help to Buy scheme parachuting further assistance to aspiring homeowners throughout the country, and ensured that many potential buyers could still navigate around the stricter mortgage regulations and affordability checks, in the slipstream of higher LTV lending.
“During 2014 as a whole, completed house sales climbed 18% on 2013 levels – reaching the highest volume witnessed since 2007.
“While the bulk of this uplift happened in the first half of the year, 2014 finished at a sprint too – with completed house sales in December jumping 17% on the previous month, against the usual seasonal tide, as the Chancellor’s remodelling of the age-old Stamp Duty barrier flooded the market with buoyed consumer confidence.”