East of England house prices grew by 8.1 per cent in April

House prices grew by 8.1% in the East of England in the year to April 2017, according to the Office of National Satistics (ONS), whose latest House Price Index reveals that the overall annual price change for a property in the UK was 5.6%.

The ONS’s headline statistics for April 2017 report that the average price of a property in the UK was £220,094. This demonstrates an annual increase of 5.6% and a monthly increase of 1.6%.

In parallel, the Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyors’ (RICS) residential market survey for April 2017 revealed that while price expectations are moderately positive, new buyer enquiries remain low.

Referring to the UK Property Transactions statistics, the ONS reported that the total number of seasonally adjusted property transactions completed in the UK with a value of £40,000 or above increased by 20.3% in April 2017, in comparison to April 2016. However, it was highlighted that the introduction of the Stamp Duty surcharge last year impacted April 2016’s transactions, resulting in unusually low levels.

On a monthly basis meanwhile, property transactions fell by 3.2% when comparing March 2017 to April 2017.

Strong regional differences were apparent in house price growth. In the East of England prices rose by 8.1%, whereas in the North East, prices grew by just 0.6% in the 12 months to April 2017.

In London, prices were up by 4.7%, a rise of 1.5 percentage points compared to the year to March 2017. According to the ONS, this is the first time in 11 months that the rate of price growth in London has risen and is consistent with figures from the RICS, which, for 13 months in a row, has reported negative price expectations in the Capital.

Lastly, the ONS reported that housing market activity was subdued on both the demand and supply side, and that on the supply side new sales instructions remained negative for the fourteenth month in a row. Furthermore, according to the RICS, average estate agent stock levels remain close to record lows and “an acute shortage of stock remains a key factor underpinning prices for the time being”.

Jeff Knight, Director of Marketing at Foundation Home Loans, said: “Naturally, it will take a while for the dust to settle following the election result, but it’s crucial that the focus on housing supply solutions are not derailed in the meantime. There is clearly cross-party appetite to address supply and affordability, but in the meantime, those aspiring to own their own home can only sit back and watch prices steadily increasing as a result.”

“The growth of the PRS is both a sign of progress in meeting demand, and the sheer scale of this demand in the first place. Having a diverse mix of rental property is therefore incredibly important, as is continuing to attract motivated landlords to the sector so that we can maintain a high standard for tenants saving up for that first deposit.”

John Eastgate, Sales and Marketing Director of OneSavings Bank, commented: “House prices have been galloping upwards for the past five years, but it seems that softening demand might be starting to rein-in the pace of that growth. Mortgage approvals fell once again in April, reflecting falling consumer confidence that will hardly have been helped by the election outcome.

“Until we get some clarity around how the political landscape will unfold, it is difficult to envisage a material change in consumer confidence, so we should expect the pattern of reducing house price growth to continue. Falling real incomes will remain a challenge for affordability although we should expect to see mortgage rates remaining at record lows for some time to come and this will no doubt support a core level of demand and ensure a modest level of house price growth in the medium term.”

 

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