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House prices fell 0.3% in April

Christina Hoghton
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Christina Hoghton

Average UK property prices are now up just 0.1% compared to a year ago

The UK’s average house price fell by 0.3% in April to £286,896, said Halifax, a dip of around £1,000.

This is around £7,000 below last summer’s peak, though still £28,000 higher than two years ago.

The mortgage lender added that property prices are now up by just 0.1% over the 12 months to April 2023.

Kim Kinnaird, director of Halifax Mortgages, said: “House price movements over recent months have largely mirrored the short-term volatility seen in borrowing costs. The sharp fall in prices we saw at the end of last year after September’s ‘mini-budget’ preceded something of a rebound in the first quarter of this year as economic conditions improved.

“Alongside a market-wide uptick in mortgage approvals, these latest figures may indicate a more steady environment. However, cost of living concerns remain real for many households, which will likely continue weigh on sentiment and activity. Combined with the impact of higher interest rates gradually feeding through to those re-mortgaging their current fixed-rate deals, we should expect some further downward pressure on house prices over the course of this year.”

Alice Haine, personal finance analyst at Bestinvest, added: “House prices edged down slightly in April on the month as high borrowing costs, falling real wages and the continued cost-of-living squeeze all took their toll on affordability. With the rate of annual growth also slowing, the average property price is now only slightly ahead of where it was a year ago.

“Falling prices may be good news for first-time buyers who are flooding the market to escape high rental rates, but they may have been hoping for a sharper drop in values to help them secure a better deal. In fact, the UK housing market is probably doing better than expected when you consider the tough market conditions it is up against.”

Nations and regions

There’s an increasingly mixed picture emerging for house prices across the UK, according to Halifax.

The four regions of southern England have seen average house prices fall over the last year, with the South East registering the largest dip (-0.6%, average house price of £387,469).

Typically, it’s these regions (including Greater London, Eastern England and the South West) where buyers face the most expensive average property prices, said the lender, and therefore the biggest impact of higher borrowing costs. London continues to have the costliest homes of anywhere in the country at an average of £538,409 (annual rate of growth now -0.2%).

Elsewhere all other regions and nations across the UK saw the rate of annual property price inflation remain positive during April. The West Midlands posted the strongest annual growth of +3.1% (average property price of £249,554).

Northern Ireland (+2.7%, £186,846), Scotland (+2.2%, £201,489) and Wales (+1.0%, £216,559) have also seen average property prices increase year-on-year.