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City house price growth is slower than a year ago but average prices increased 3.5% in last 3 months. There is material upside for house prices outside southern England. In London the rate of growth has dropped from 13% to 3% in the last 12 months.
City house price growth 5.1%yoy
UK city house price growth is 5.1% per annum, down from 8.8% in May 2016. Half of cities have faster growth than a year ago (Table 2). Cities in south eastern England have recorded the greatest slowdown over the year – London 13% to 3%, Cambridge 13% to 2%.
Fastest increase over a quarter for 3 years
While the annual rate of growth is at 5.1%, the index has recorded an acceleration in growth over the last 3 months with average prices across the 20 city index up by 3.5%. This is the highest quarterly rate of growth for 3 years, since June 2014 (Fig. 1).
All cities, with the exception of Oxford and Aberdeen, have registered higher prices in the last 3 months. Large regional cities recorded the highest price increases over the last quarter - Birmingham (3.8%), Nottingham (3.8%), Manchester (3.3%) and Newcastle (3.5%). House prices in these and other cities continue to rise off a low base supported by a lack of housing for sale and low mortgage rates.
More growth to come in cities outside South East
We believe there is the potential for material upside in house prices outside Southern England. Price increases since 2009 range between +85% in London to just +12% in Glasgow (Fig. 2). Regional cities are unlikely to post London levels of growth, but we expect the gap in growth from 2009 to close. Cities with growing economies creating jobs have the greatest upside. Birmingham (7.7%) and Manchester (6.8%) are examples of cities with sustained, above average price growth. A negative economic impact from the Brexit negotiations, or an upward shift in mortgage rates remain the key risks.
Rapid price deceleration in London bottoming out
In contrast, the London housing market has registered 90% growth since 2009. Affordability and uncertainty are impacting demand. London has the lowest annual growth (+3.3%) for 5 years. However, the rapid deceleration in price inflation is showing signs of bottoming out.
On current trends we do not expect to see the London City index to slip into negative year on year growth during 2017. We predict annual growth to end the year at 2-3%. The challenge for business operating in London is lower turnover, which is the market response to weaker demand.
Some sub-markets within London City, which covers 46 local authority areas, are registering annual price falls. Figure 3 plots year on year growth by local authority against average prices. Subscribers to our email alerts can see the full data for London City.
Price inflation is 4-6% in the lowest value areas, down from 15% to 18% a year ago. Price rises are lowest in the highest value markets, where growth has been in single digits for the last year. Sub-markets with prices between £600,000 and £800,000 are where small annual price falls are currently concentrated e.g. Islington, Hammersmith.Fig. 3 - House price trends within London City
Average UK city house prices have increased at an annual average rate of 4.4% per annum. While price falls in the latter part of 2018 suppressed the annual growth rate, these have dropped out of the annual growth calculation and explain the increase in the current annual rate of growth. The outlook for 2020 will be driven by affordability factors. We expect city house prices to increase by +3% over 2020 with above average growth in the most affordable cities and below average growth in cities across London and southern England.
UK city house price inflation is higher as prices start to firm up in London and Southern England. Large regional cities continue to post above average price growth on the back of rising demand and attractive affordability, supported by low mortgage rates. London is experiencing its highest rate of growth for 2 years and follows a period of modest price falls.
HPI is currently running at +2.4%, half the average growth over the last five years, and below average earnings growth. Time to sell has hit a 3 year high, while discount to asking price has widened across UK cities. Despite this, underlying market conditions still vary widely across large areas of the country.
With HPI moderating at 1.9%, it appears the slowdown in house price growth is an indication of a return to a more sustainable pace of price growth. However, a change in buyer mix from cash buyers to those with mortgages, plus wide variance in the recovery of house prices is sending mixed signals about current housing market activity.