Yorkshire and the Humber showed the highest annual house price growth while London performed poorly with the lowest growth, the ONS House Price Index has found.
In the Yorkshire and the Humber prices increased by 3.6% in the year to March 2019, this was followed by the West Midlands (3.4%). In London prices fell by 1.9% over the year to March 2019, up from a fall of 2.7% in February 2019. This was followed by the North East where prices fell 0.8% over the year.
Tomer Aboody, director of property lender MT Finance, said: “While prices fell 1.9% in the year to March in London, this was a better performance than the previous month’s figure of 2.7%, suggesting that there is more confidence and people willing to proceed with their property purchases.
“This is particularly true in the £2m to £7m/£8m bracket as anyone buying now is getting a 20 or even 30% discount from the 2015/2016 peak. There is more value for money in property at this level and buyers may be able to afford what they couldn’t have dreamed of in the past.
“Elsewhere, growth in property prices in the Midlands and north of the country shows confidence in projects like HS2, which will one day get off the ground.
“The North-South divide is narrowing, with increased ability to travel between the regions for work and it means that it may be possible to live in cheaper parts of the country.
“The appeal of greener pastures and a better standard of living will mean those areas will go up in value and benefit from the investment of people on higher salaries moving out of London.
“The government’s focus on London and the southeast has always been highly questionable and there is nothing wrong with living a bit further out, particularly when many people have been priced out of the capital perhaps forever.”
While London house prices are falling over the year, the area remains the most expensive place to purchase a property at an average of £463,000, followed by the South East and the East of England, at £318,000 and £287,000 respectively.
The North East continues to have the lowest average house price at £123,000 and is the only English region yet to surpass its pre-economic downturn peak.
Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, added: ‘While average house prices across the UK ticked up in March, this masked significant regional differences.
“London continues to disappoint with the lowest annual growth and prices falling 1.9 per cent over the year to March but it could be argued that there was a need for a correction in the capital with property prices racing away and putting ownership beyond the reach of many ‘ordinary’ people.
“Even with these price corrections, London is still the most expensive place to buy property. There remains a significant gap between incomes and property prices, although with lenders keen to lend and offering good rates at high loan-to-values, there is a glimmer of hope for those struggling to pull together the necessary deposit.”
Average house prices in the UK increased by 1.4% in the year to March 2019, up from 1.0% in February 2019. However, over the past three years, there has been a general slowdown in house price growth, driven mainly by a slowdown in the south and east of England.
The average UK house price was £227,000 in March 2019. This is £3,000 higher than the same period a year ago (March 2018).
On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, average house prices in the UK decreased by 0.2% between February 2019 and March 2019, compared with a fall of 0.6% in average prices during the same period a year earlier (February 2018 and March 2018).
On a seasonally adjusted basis, average house prices in the UK increased by 0.1% between February 2019 and March 2019.
The average house price in England increased by 1.1% over the year to March 2019, up slightly from 1.0% in February 2019, with the average house price in England now £243,000.
House prices in Scotland increased by 3.3% in the year to March 2019, up from 0.5% in the year to February 2019, with the average house price in Scotland now £149,000.
Meanwhile house price growth in Wales rose by 3% in the year to March 2019, down from 3.6% in February 2019 with the average house price at £159,000.
Northern Ireland house prices increased by 3.5% over the year Q1 2019. Northern Ireland remains the cheapest UK country to purchase a property in, with the average house price at £135,000.