House prices edged up for the third consecutive month in February, rising 0.5% to take the average value of a home in England and Wales to £302,435.
The Your Move House Price Index showed that price growth was led by Wales, where it increased by 3% annually.
There was a spike in price rises in early last year, explaining why prices are down 0.5% compared to this time last year. Overall, prices remain subdued with an estimated 59,100 sales in February 2019.
There is a distinct North/South divide. Most of the major conurbations outside London continue to see growth, led by Cardiff, up 5.3%.
Oliver Blake, managing director of Your Move and Reeds Rains estate agents said: “Whilst a challenging market it’s a mixed picture with some regions still experiencing price rises; there clearly continues to be demand for property and a need for more homes to come to market.”
As of last month, the North/South divide largely persists in the regions of England and Wales, with annual falls concentrated in the South Eastern corner of the country.
The South East region itself is seeing the fastest falls in prices, with the average house values down 1.7%, despite strong growth in the Isle of Wight (up 7.0%) and Southampton, up 4.2% annually to set a new peak average price.
The picture is complicated by modest growth in the South West (up 0.3%).
There, growth in Bournemouth (up 7.3%) and new peak average prices in Bristol (up 0.3%), Gloucestershire and Somerset (up 3.8% and 3.9%, respectively) remains enough to outweigh downward pressure from Bath and North East Somerset (down 10.2%) and North Somerset (down 5.4%).
Likewise, the North East refuses to conform to the pattern. Prices there are down 1.6, with significant falls in Redcar and Cleveland (falling 7.3%) and Middlesbrough (down 6.5%).
Outside these areas, though, growth continues and the majority of local authorities (59 out of 108) saw averages prices rise. For the most part the increases are modest.
In England, the North West sees the strong growth with average prices up 1.3% annually. This is supported by strong performance in Manchester, which set a new peak average price in the month and where values have increased 3.1% in the last year.
The West Midlands also performs well, with growth of 1.7%, but in the East Midlands and Yorks & Humber regions growth is under 1.0%. The strongest performing region by far, however, remains Wales, where growth of 3.0% remains comfortably ahead of inflation.
Its performance is strengthened by strong growth in the capital Cardiff, where prices are up 5.3% annually at a new peak average of £241,036, benefiting in part from the abolition of the toll on the Severn Bridge.
The same is probably true for Wales’ third city, Newport, another new peak (one of five in Wales), with prices up 6.7% annually.
In London, prices have risen for the last five months, leaving the average price in the capital at £622,494.
By Michael Lloyd
Source: Mortgage Introducer