Average U.K. Home Prices Hit a Record High in March | 07 April 2022

Prices increased by 11% year-over-year, according to the latest Halifax House Price Index

Average U.K. home prices hit an all-time high of £282,753 (US$369,245) in March, a 1.4% increase from the previous month and an 11% increase from the same time last year, according to data from the March Halifax House Price Index, released Thursday.

“The story behind such strong house price inflation remains unchanged: limited supply and strong demand, despite the prospect of increasing pressure on households’ finances,” Halifax managing director Russell Galley wrote in the report. “Although there is some recent evidence of more homes coming onto the market, the fundamental issue remains that too many buyers are chasing too few properties.”

Since the initial Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020, U.K. house prices have risen by £43,577, an 18.2% increase, according to Halifax’s data. In keeping with pandemic-related housing trends, single-family homes continue to be in higher demand than apartments. Average prices for flats have increased by £15,404, or 10.6%, over the past two years, while average prices for detached properties rose by £77,717, or 21.3%, in the same period.

“For the best properties, we are seeing the sort of competition we saw in 2006-07 and 2013-14,” Guy Meacock, director of buying agency Prime Purchase, told Mansion Global. “There is much more activity in the house market than flats, mainly because international buyers have not fully returned.”

Regionally, the South West of England saw the U.K.’s strongest price growth over the past year, with average prices increasing by 14.6% to £298,162, a record for the region. Wales came in at a close second with average annual price growth of 14.1% in March, and in Northern Ireland annual growth clocked in at 13%.

London’s market saw increases as well, with prices growing by 5.9% year-over-year, up to an average of £534,977.

“The acute supply and demand imbalance across London has driven pricing and competitive bidding on properties,” Angus Dixon, director of private clients at independent property consultants INHOUS, told Mansion Global. “This trend is set to continue if more supply doesn’t hit the market in coming weeks and months. We are starting to see glimpses of supply improving in some areas, but only time will tell.”

Mr. Dixon added, “London living is certainly ‘back in fashion’ and we have heard cases of buyer’s remorse among those who moved out of the city following lockdowns.”

As in the U.S., however, rising interest rates and other economic headwinds may put a damper on the rapid pace of price growth as 2022 wears on.

“In the long term we know the performance of the housing market remains inextricably linked to the health of the wider economy,” Mr. Galley wrote. “Buyers are dealing with the prospect of higher interest rates and a higher cost of living. With affordability metrics already extremely stretched, these factors should lead to a slowdown in house price inflation over the next year.”

Originally published by Mansion Global.

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