Average UK house prices increased by £24,000 in the twelve months ended 31 March, according to the Office for National Statistics, a slight slowdown when compared to the previous month.
The average price of a home in the UK rose to £278,000 in March as the annual growth rate came to 9.8%, down from the 11.3% annual increase seen in February.
Average house prices in England hit a record level of £298,000, a 9.9% annual increase, while the average price of a home in Wales, Scotland, and Ireland all saw double-digit percentage increases to £206,000, £181,000, and £165,000, respectively.
The softest annual growth was in the capital, where average prices increased by just 4.8% year-on-year. However, London still easily remained the most unaffordable city in Britain with an average price of £524,000 in March.
Hargreaves Lansdown’s Sarah Coles said: “Average annual price rises have bounced in and out of double digits for almost a year now, so a single monthly drop isn’t the canary in the coalmine. It’s not the first monthly pause in the relentless rise of average prices either. There are still plenty of signs of strength in the market that have come through since March, with sales remaining brisk, mortgage approvals running above pre-pandemic levels, and the number of buyers still growing – and continuing to dramatically outnumber sellers.
“However, it’s only a matter of time before we see house prices slow on a more sustained basis. The latest RICS report showed that the number of buyers continued to rise, but that they were getting a bit more cautious. Even if they’re still keen to buy, mortgage companies are increasing rates and boosting the assumed costs in their affordability calculations, so there’s going to come a time when it gets harder for people to get a loan.”
Separately, the ONS revealed that private rental prices rose 2.7% in the 12 months ended 31 March, up from a 2.4% increase detected a month earlier. Private rents increased 2.5% in England, 1.7% in Wales, and 2.9% in Scotland.
Reporting by Iain Gilbert at Sharecast.com