House prices fall 0.2% in February – Land Registry

The average house price for England and Wales fell 0.2% from January into February according to Land Registry.

The fall was driven by drops of-0.1%, -0.3% and -1.2% in Wales, the West Midlands and the North East respectively. All other regions experienced positive changes.

Overall, the average price has risen 6.1% year on year, to £190,275.

Andrew Bridges, managing director of Stirling Ackroyd said: “House prices across the country have paused for breath – but London is still dancing to its own tune. In the capital, a steady beat of demand shows no signs of stopping.

“Higher prices aren’t stifling any interest from those living in the capital, even if the mixture of movements is shifting. Not all of London is seeing property prices surges, with the more traditional top of the prime London market much quieter. But this is more than made up for by new, emerging suburbs and the surprisingly affordable parts of central London which still persist.

“As the capital’s population keeps on growing, the London housing market is getting ever warmer and more crowded. This is underpinning solid house price growth for sellers. But for buyers and renters it makes entry to the housing ladder ever more difficult. Hundreds of thousands of new homes are the only real answer. Mayoral candidates are still reluctant to take on such a massive challenge – but if they want to gain entrance to City Hall on election night, they might have to do more to help Londoners enjoy the success of the house price party.”

Richard Sexton, director of chartered surveyor e.surv said: “A lack of supply from sellers is restricting the property market – seen through a slowdown in sales figures from last year. Those moving are facing fewer options, encouraging many to stay put and therefore reducing choice for all in the market. And first-timers are feeling the effect.

“It’s not just a lack of choice – but a lack of funds is holding some back as prices keep moving upwards across the country. London may be leading the way but the South East is catching up, alongside the East of the country – creating a corner of formidable property price growth. While encouraging anyone selling a home in these areas, this is also a potential obstacle for some buyers. Savings are struggling and government initiatives like the Lifetime ISA are still a drop in the ocean when it comes to building a deposit.

“It’s in the North East that first-time buyers are most likely to get value for money – and most likely to get a foot on the property ladder. It a fact that imbalances in the UK’s property market are becoming ever starker.”

Land Registry also published data on sales and repossessions for December. Across the whole of the UK there wee 6% fewer sales in December 2015 compared with December 2014, down from 78,208 to 73,326.

The number of repossessions also dropped, from 706 in December 2014 to 356 in December 2015, a drop of 50%

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