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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
UK city house price inflation is registering +1.7%. Glasgow leads on house price growth at +5.1%, the lowest growth rate of the best performing city since 2012. London is the slowest growing city with growth registering at -0.5%.
Weaker market conditions mean cities house price inflation has slowed to 1.7%. As affordability pressures grow, London's weak growth spreads across southern England. Sales volumes in southern cities are 13% lower than in 2015. Conversely, sales volumes are 19% higher than 2015 in regional cities. The cities registering the highest rate of growth at present are those where recovery in prices since 2008 has been weakest.
House price inflation is currently sitting at +2.8% annually, with growth ranging from +6.8% in Leicester to +0.2% in Cambridge. Prices are up 17% in two regional cities since the Brexit vote, and growth in London rises to +0.4%.
The 20-city index is registering house price inflation of 2.9%. Growth ranges from +6% in Leicester to -1.6% in Aberdeen. Comparison of time to sell and discounts to asking price indicates the strength of city housing markets, with twelve cities having relatively strong market fundamentals.