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December 2016 - London drops to 7th in house price growth rankings

On 20 January, 2017
  • City level house price growth 7.2% over 2016 (7.7% 2015).
  • Bristol registered fastest annual growth of 9.6%. Manchester was second (8.9%) where the rate price inflation is at its highest for 12 years as demand runs ahead of supply.
  • Weakening demand and record high unaffordability explain London dropping to seventh in the house price growth rankings (7.3%) for 2016. Growth projected to slow to 1% over 2017.

House price inflation in Manchester hits 12 year high. Growth in regional cities continues to overhaul London which dropped to 7th in the city house price growth rankings for 2016. Bristol is still the fastest growing city +9.6% but could be overtaken by Manchester in Q1.

City house price growth bounces back in Q4 2016

UK city house price inflation bounced back in 2016Q4 with average values rising 2.2%, up from 0.3% in Q3 when growth was impacted by the Brexit vote.

UK city house price growth 7.2% over 2016

Growth over 2016 was down slightly compared to 2015 (7.7%) but in line with the average rate over the last 18 months. Falling unemployment and rising earnings continue to stimulate demand in more affordable housing markets where buyers are using low mortgage rates to bid up the cost of housing.

Impetus for house price growth shifting

The headline rate of growth masks a clear shift in underlying growth at a city level. The impetus for growth is shifting from London to regional cities with more attractive affordability and headroom for further price inflation (Fig. 3).

Bristol was the fastest growing city in 2016

Average prices increased 9.6% down from 11.6% in 2015 but affordability pressures are set to result in slower growth in 2017.

Manchester records fastest growth for 12 years

Manchester recorded the second quickest rate of growth over 2016 at 8.9%. This is the highest rate of growth in the city for over 11.5 years (July 2005). As we have highlighted in recent city index reports, underlying market conditions remain strong in Manchester.

The supply of homes for sales is only just managing to keep pace with demand which is keeping the upward pressure on prices. The same is true in other regional cities such as Birmingham and points to continued, above average price inflation over 2017.

Source: Hometrack House Price Indices
Fig. 1 - 20 city house price index
Source: Hometrack House Price Indices
Fig. 2 - City level house price growth, 2016
Source: Hometrack House Price Indices

London drops to 7th in city growth over 2016

Average prices in London increased by 7.3% over the year. This is the lowest annual rate of growth recorded across London for over 3 years (July 2013).  Stretched affordability levels, with the price/earnings ratio at 14x, points to a prolonged period of price re-adjustment in the London housing market over the coming years.

Other cities recording faster growth than London in 2016 include Oxford (8.1%), Portsmouth (8.0%), Southampton (7.9%), and Birmingham (7.5%).

Speed of price falls slows rapidly in Aberdeen

Aberdeen house prices posted something of a revival in the final quarter of 2016. House prices registered an above average increase of 2.9% over the final quarter. This reduced the rate of annual price falls to 3.2% as the market bottoms out after registering an 11% drop in average house prices since 2014.

Fig.3 - Shifting focus for house price growth
Fig.3 - Shifting focus for house price growth
Source: Hometrack House Price Indices
December 2016 - London drops to 7th in house price growth rankings
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