It’s a strange time for property prices. In the wake of continued Brexit-related uncertainty, it’s never clear whether the time is nigh to go for it and buy a new home, or whether we’d be better off waiting until the housing market reaches some kind of equilibrium.
According to a new report by Zoopla, while there’s a mixed picture for UK’s housing market, there’s good news overall, with 2019 representing the first time that annual price growth has been positive across all 20 cities in the last three years.
Comparing figures from February 2018 with those of February 2019 the research found that there has been a 2.8 per cent annual jump in UK house prices.
And when it came to the cities leading the way for year-on-year house price growth Leicester topped the ranking (6.8 per cent) followed by Manchester (5.8 per cent), Glasgow (5.7 per cent), Belfast (5.6 per cent) and Liverpool (5.3 per cent).
The Brexit vote has also had a surprisingly positive effect on house price growth in several cities with Leicester and Manchester seeing rises of as much as 17 per cent since this momentous political event.
At the other end of the spectrum the top five weakest areas for house price growth were as follows: Cambridge (0.2 per cent), London (0.4 per cent), Oxford (1 per cent), Portsmouth (1.3 per cent) and Southampton (1.5 per cent).
On a positive note there are some bargains to be had for first-time buyers with the following areas offering up average house prices under £150,000: Liverpool (£121,100), Glasgow (£123,800), Newcastle (£128,100), Belfast (£134,100) and Sheffield (£137,500).
Commenting, Richard Donnell, Research and Insight Director at Zoopla, said: ‘Our latest index results show that house prices in London are starting to firm. Buyers who have stood on the side-lines since 2015 are starting to see greater value for money, seeking out buying opportunities amidst the uncertainty of Brexit. This is supported by greater realism on pricing by sellers. We do not believe London prices will rebound but it is a positive for sales volumes which are still 25 per cent lower than in 2016.
‘While the Brexit debate reaches fever pitch data on housing sales and demand for mortgages shows buyers are largely unmoved. Transaction volumes over 2018 remained in line with the 5-year average. The latest data shows that housing transactions have increased slightly in the first 2 months of 2019. With unemployment at a record low and mortgage rates still averaging 2%, buyers appear to be largely shrugging off Brexit uncertainty until there is a material change in the overall outlook.’
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