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Property prices in Wales and North Somerset surge, as overall UK growth falls

Written by: Victoria Hartley
House prices have fallen for the last three months, but some areas are bucking the trend
Property prices in Wales and North Somerset surge, as overall UK growth falls

Wales and North Somerset are the clear exceptions to falling house prices around the UK.

Overall, house prices are down for the third month in a row and the annual growth rate has fallen for 11 months in succession, according to Rightmove.

Many areas continue to prove resilient, however, with prices in England and Wales excluding London and the South East three per cent up on the same time last year.

Overall, the average price in England and Wales at the end of April stood at £302,252, up from £299,374 a year ago.

Slowing market overall

While annual price growth continues to fall, the decline is slowing, although transactions have dropped nationwide.

The “Beast from the East” hit house-hunting activity in February and muted activity is also underpinned by a real shortage of properties being put up for sale.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ new instruction indicator for April continued to decline, and average stock levels on estate agents’ books remain close to all-time lows.

The report of the Intergenerational Commission published by the Resolution Foundation in May noted, four-in-10 millennial families at age 30 now live in private rented accommodation, compared to just one in ten for the baby boomers when they were the same age.

Oliver Blake, managing director of Your Move and Reeds Rains estate agents, said: “London remains the exception, rather than the rule, when it comes to the strength of the market in the major cities of England & Wales, which remain strong. The market remains slow, though, when it comes to the number of transactions.”

Price struggles

Struggles with affordability are most pronounced in London, which, not coincidentally, is also the only region in England and Wales to see prices fall on an annual basis, with prices down 2.5%.

The average property price is now £15,415 lower than a year earlier, at £601,808.

Price falls continue to be concentrated at the top of the market. Eight of the 11 most expensive boroughs in the capital have seen prices drop in the last year, including Westminster, the second most expensive borough, down 13.3%, Wandsworth, down 13.6%, and the City of London, down 31.4%.

The big exception to the rule is Kensington and Chelsea, right at the top of the market, where prices are up 23.7% buoyed by a small number of £10 million plus property sales.

Wales introduced a new Land Transaction Tax in April, starting at a higher base, of £180,000, against £125,000 in England, but at a higher rate for properties priced £400,000 to £925,000, with tax rates at 7.5% and 10%.

As a result, higher band purchasers brought forward transactions to avoid the new tax, just as they did ahead of the stamp duty hike in April 2016.

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