House price growth across UK cities has hit a two year high of 3.9% according to the December edition of Zoopla’s House Price Index.
The increase in house price inflation follows flat to falling house prices in the latter parts of 2018 and has been bolstered by a surge in buyer demand.
These figures come after HMRC data showed sales transactions in December 2019 were up 11% compared to December 2018.
Zoopla’s analysis found buyer demand in the first weeks of 2020 was 26% higher than the same four week period in 2019 and 2018.
Cities in the Midlands and North of England have recorded the strongest interest from buyers so far this year.
Richard Donnell, research and insight director at Zoopla, said: “Whilst the first few weeks of the year always see a return of home buyers to the housing market, demand for housing at the start of 2020 is 26% higher than over the last two years.
“This is partially due to fading political uncertainty; households who were holding off moving are now starting to return to the market and this momentum has been supported by low mortgage rates.
“The cities with more affordable house prices, such as Sheffield and Leeds, have seen the greatest increase in buyer demand as house hunters continue to focus on value for money this year.”
Nottingham, where house price inflation is currently at 5.2%, is ranked as the strongest prospect for house price growth this year.
Cities in the South of England, including Southampton and London, are expected to see house price growth underperform the average in 2020.
Sales volumes in the capital are set to rise faster than prices as buyer confidence improves.
Donnell added: “Regional cities continue to lead the way for house price inflation this year thanks to continued economic growth and more attractive affordability of housing.
“The best prospects for house price growth in 2020 are in Nottingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester.
“In contrast, we expect cities in southern England to register below average price growth as affordability levels realign to what buyers can afford.
“Overall, we are expecting house prices to grow on average by +3% across all UK cities in 2020.”