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North of England only region to see house price falls in 2018

Written by: Antonia Di Lorenzo
House price rises remained subdued in the South of England, compared to ongoing marked gains in the Midlands, according to the latest Halifax House Price Index.

Regional price trends remained mixed during 2018. However, of the 12 UK regions, 11 registered increases in house prices during 2018 – and only the North of England recorded a fall of 0.3%.

London experienced a marginal increase in prices by 0.9%, which was the weakest gain in seven years of continuous inflation.

Similarly, price rises in the South West eased noticeably to just one per cent while the two per cent increase seen in the South East was the weakest since 2012.

Elsewhere, marginal gains were recorded in Wales of 0.9% and 0.7% in Yorkshire and Humber. Meanwhile, price rises in the North West slipped to a six-year low of 2.6%.

In contrast, the West Midlands saw a robust increase in house prices of 6.5%, which compares to 5% in 2017. East Anglia at 4.4% and the East Midlands at 3.5% also recorded price gains above the national average.

Overall, UK house price inflation in December hit its lowest level since early 2013, standing at 2.8% versus 3.3% in 2017.

The report also found that UK house prices increased by 0.4% on a quarterly basis in the final three months of 2018, while on a yearly basis they rose by 1.9%, down from a 2.7% increase in the previous quarter.

Uncertain 2019

Despite a positive backdrop of rising employment and increasing pay levels, 2018 proved to be a subdued year for the UK housing market, explained Paul Smith, economics director at IHS Markit – which conducted the research for Halifax.

He added: “The slowdown, especially in the second half of the year, seems to have mainly emanated from increasing uncertainty among buyers about the economic outlook, with enquiries down and consumer sentiment weakening.

“With the terms of Britain’s departure from the European Union remaining unknown, 2019 price developments remain unusually uncertain and seem inevitably dependent on Brexit developments in the coming months.”

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