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Hometrack’s UK Cities Index records annual house price growth of 9.4% - faster than the 7.1% UK wide growth rate. City level house price inflation looks set to reach 10% by the year end. Large regional cities outside southern England are recording an acceleration in growth off a low base. Glasgow, Manchester and Liverpool are registering the highest rates of annual house price growth since 2007.
Large regional cities add impetus to price growth
Hometrack’s UK Cities Index, covering the most urbanised 5% of the UK with half the value of UK homes, is recording annual house price growth of 9.4% - faster than the 7.1% UK wide growth rate (fig.1.). As predicted earlier this year, city level house price inflation looks set to reach 10% by the year end.
Large regional cities outside southern England are recording an acceleration in growth off a low base. Glasgow, Manchester and Liverpool are registering the highest rates of annual house price growth since 2007. Improving consumer confidence and low mortgage rates are boosting demand in cities where the housing recovery is in its infancy.
Glasgow house prices currently average £110,000, less than half the £229,300 average price across all the 20 cities measured by the Hometrack UK Cities index. House prices in Glasgow stopped falling three years ago and have since risen by 13%. In the last 12 months they are up by 8.3%, which is the highest rate of annual growth across the city since August 2007.
Recovery 3 years old in Manchester and Liverpool
In a similar vein, Manchester house prices have been recovering since 2012 and average house prices have risen by 17% over this time to £141,200. In the last 12 months house prices across Manchester have grown by 7.0%, the highest rate of growth since July 2007.
Liverpool has registered the weakest house price performance of all the British cities covered by the index since the global financial crisis. House prices declined between 2007 and early 2013 and have since increased by just 10.5%. In the last 12 month year on year growth has risen to 5.1%, the highest since August 2007. Despite this modest recovery, the average price of £109,800 is still 13% lower than the 2007 peak.
House price recovery impacts activity
These city level indices show just how varied the housing recovery has been over the last six years. This varied pattern of growth impacts the loan to values for existing home owners and their capacity to borrow as well as investment decisions by developers and investors who are increasingly focused on finding better value in the regions outside London.
Central London goes ex-growth
The tentative recovery in large regional cities contrasts strongly with the rise of London house prices where average prices are up by 70% since 2009 (and by over 100% in the highest value markets). It is these high value markets that are now recording some of the weakest levels of house price growth (Kensington and Chelsea -2.6%, City of Westminster +1.3%) as tax and currency changes impact demand after a period of stellar price appreciation.
Modest slowdown in rate of growth still likely
Last month we reported early signs of a slowdown in the upward momentum in house prices which we still believe will materialise in the run up to the year end. The month on month change in the cities index in October was slightly lower than the last 4 months (0.9% in October versus an average of 1.2% over the last 4 months).
Outlook a balancing act
The outlook for the next 12 to 18 months will be a balance between how much the high growth London markets will slow and how much more momentum will come from cities where the housing recovery is still in its infancy. Our views on the outlook for 2016 will be covered in the next month’s index report.
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.
UK City HPI is running at 2.3%, with Liverpool and Edinburgh seeing growth of +6% and Aberdeen -5%. Looking at average house price growth versus growth in average earnings, we can see that affordability levels are starting to improve. Twelve cities are registering price growth that is lower than the growth in average earnings.