Average UK house price rises 2.2% in December

The average house price in the UK increased by 2.2% in the year to December 2019, a rise from 1.7% in the year to November 2019, new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed.

The UK House Price Index suggested there had been a general slowdown in UK house price growth over the past three years – driven mainly by a slowdown in the South and East of England – but added that there had been a pickup in annual growth since July 2019.

The data showed the average UK house price was £235,000 in December 2019 – a figure £5,000 higher than the same month 12 months earlier.

Yorkshire and the Humber was revealed to be the English region with the highest annual house price growth, where prices increased by 3.9% in the year to December. This was followed by the East Midlands, which increased by 2.8%.

The ONS revealed the lowest annual growth was in the South-East of England, where prices increased by 1.2% over the year to December, and this was followed by the West Midlands, where prices increased by 1.4%.

London house prices increased by 2.3% over the year to December, which was up from 0.4% in November 2019, and the Index showed that London house prices remained the most expensive at an average of £484,000.

The North-East continued to have the lowest average house price, at £131,000, and the ONS said it was the only English region yet to surpass its pre-economic downturn peak of July 2007.

Commenting on the latest ONS data, Zoopla head of research, Gráinne Gilmore, said: “The certainty provided by the definitive result of the General Election was a shot in the arm for the UK housing market. The annual level of growth for the UK according to the ONS is the highest recorded in 2019, with all regions seeing positive growth for the first time in nearly two years.

“Zoopla data shows an increase in buyer demand since late last year, a trend that is set to continue amid real wage growth and low interest rates. However, in some areas there is still a shortage of homes coming to market to meet this demand.

“The upcoming Budget is a prime opportunity for the new Chancellor to address some of the factors affecting the housing market at present. Any review of stamp duty charges to help the movement of homeowners up and down the property ladder would be welcome, but the extent and nature of any reform, which must be balanced against political exigencies, remains to be seen.”

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