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House prices higher than pre-crunch peak in seven of 12 UK regions

Written by: Christina Hoghton
House price inflation in the final quarter of 2016 showed a sharp divergence across the regions, according to Halifax.

Scotland saw growth of 6.5% while prices fell by 6.4% in Wales over the same period. Increases were recorded in nine of the 12 UK regions during the fourth quarter of 2016.

Looking at how prices compared with a year ago, a different picture emerges, with Northern Ireland experiencing the fastest rate of annual house price inflation in the last quarter – a significant 12.8%, followed by the West Midlands (+9.8%).  The annual growth rate for London (+7.0%) was the lowest for three-and-a-half years, while Wales was the only area to see an year-on-year fall in property prices of 4.9%.

Peak performance

Despite its strong annual growth, in Northern Ireland prices remian down a massive 42% on the pre-financial crisis peak in 2007/08. Almost the exact opposite is true for London where prices are now 38% higher than in the third quarter of 2007.

Seven of the 12 UK regions have seen house prices rise back above the peak levels recorded in 2007/08, with property prices in the North West tipping above their pre-financial crisis peak in 2016 for the first time.

The average house price in London is currently £445,769 more than double the UK average of £219,556.

National picture

Average UK house prices rebounded by 2.7% in the final quarter of 2016, according to Halifax’s House Price Index, more than making back the losses of the third quarter, when prices fell -0.6%.  Property prices across the UK are now 6.5% higher than a year ago.

Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, which administers the house price index for Halifax, said: “The recovery of house prices in the fourth quarter adds further evidence that the UK economy has shown encouraging resilience amid Brexit uncertainty. However, with rising inflation set to eat into household spending power in the coming year and Brexit uncertainties expected to intensify, it’s likely that the housing market will cool as we move through 2017.”

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