Bolton – the only UK town to see house prices fall – The Week UK

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Bolton town centre has been named the worst performing area in the UK for house prices since the turn of the century. It was the only location in the country where the average valuation fell.

According to figures published by online estate agency eMoov, based on data from the Office for National Statistics, prices for properties in the centre of the Lancashire town fell nine per cent overall between 2000 and the end of last year. The Sun says prices actually rose from £77,000 to a peak of close to £106,000 in 2008, but have since slumped back to around £71,000.

Property rose in every other region during the same period, with the average house price jumping 172 per cent to £221,254.

This figure has been boosted by some particularly strong growth in the south and south-east of England, however, and there are a number of UK regions where gains have been more modest. In the city centre of Leicester, for example, prices have risen by just nine per cent.

Eight of the ten worst performing locations saw growth of less than the compound inflation of approximately 55 per cent seen since 2000, meaning homeowners lost value in real terms. This includes two areas in Birmingham, near Aston University and north of New Street train station, as well as Woodhouse in Leeds, Knowsley, the south docks area of Liverpool, and around Salters Lane in Stockton-on-Tees.

But Bolton is the only place where buyers would have lost money in cash terms. “It’s almost the equivalent of everyone in the UK buying a lottery ticket and you being the only one that doesn’t hit the jackpot,” Russell Quirk, the head of eMoov, said.

Quirk told the Daily Mail that a “lack of wealth in the area and the high levels of poverty, especially among younger residents, “has seen “demand for property drop right off and buy-to-let investors snap up houses in bulk for cheaper than they normally could”.

But he expressed hope that April’s tax changes, which have made buy-to-let much less attractive, could reduce the number of landlords and increase buying among residents, helping push prices up.

House prices may be rising faster than previously thought

30 March

House prices rose at a far faster pace than previously thought in the period around the financial crash and may still be outpacing official forecasts, according to a new house price index being launched by the Office for National Statistics in June.

Preliminary figures for England and Wales, released today, estimate an average increase of 6.1 per cent between 2003 and 2011, compared to 4.6 per cent cited in Land Registry and 5.2 per cent in existing ONS data.

According to Reuters, the new index, which will replace these surveys, is more reliable as it includes information relating to new-build properties and cash purchases.

Given that, for the period so far covered, the rises are greater even than those reported by the likes of Nationwide and Halifax, it is likely more recent price increases will also come in higher than expected.

The report coincided with the latest Land Registry data for February, which showed a rise of 6.1 per cent for the year ending last month as a rush to beat tax rises for landlords picked up pace.

Houses in areas affected by transport developments helped drive the market higher, notes the BBC, with the biggest increase in the country – 19 per cent – reported in the Crossrail stopping-point of Slough. Other towns with stations on the line also saw hefty hikes, with Hillingdon and Havering experiencing rises of around 17 per cent.

“Other nearby London boroughs also saw big increases,” the report adds, “including Thurrock, where the figure was 17.2 per cent, and Barking and Dagenham, which saw a 16 per cent rise.”

House prices: Data reveals ‘two-speed’ property market

24 March

The gulf in house prices across the UK has widened significantly, new data reveals.

According to the Office for National Statistics, valuations in England rose by 8.6 per cent in the year to the end of January. In contrast, prices rose by just 0.1 per cent in the same period in Scotland, while in Northern Ireland, the increase was 0.8 per cent. In Wales, meanwhile, valuations fell by 0.3 per cent.

Speaking to the BBC, Mark Posniak, the managing director at Dragonfly Property Finance, said that though England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are “geographical neighbours”, they could be “thousands of miles apart in terms of house prices”.

There were also stark differences within England itself. While the overall increase was 8.6 per cent, this dropped to 5.1 per cent when London and the south-east were excluded.

The Guardian notes that the figures show London valuations increased by almost £500 a day in January, during which the average price reached a record £551,000. This was £15,000 up on December’s figure of £536,000 and translates into an increase of £484 a day.

“London will remain a formidable bastion of the UK’s property market but for many, its prices are an insurmountable obstacle,” added Posniak. “With interest rates unlikely to rise this year and the employment market as strong as it is, demand will remain.”

House prices: Average soars past £300k

March 21

Average house prices in England and Wales have smashed the £300,000 barrier for the first time.

According to data from Rightmove, the property website, in the year to March, the average asking price rose by 7.6 per cent to an unprecedented high of £303,190. This means that house prices have increased by 50 per cent in a decade, comfortably outpacing the 22 per cent average wage growth over the same period. In 2006, the average asking price stood at £200,980.

Powering the latest rise is a trend that is taking the property boom beyond London, where average asking prices hit £644,045, up 11 per cent. Records were set in six out of ten regions, including the West Midlands, where prices soared by 5.5 per cent to £204,140, and in the north-west, where they hopped by three per cent to £177,437.

Meanwhile, more homes are coming onto the market. Rightmove director Miles Shipside said that an average of 30,000 properties had come to the market each week over the past month, a three per cent increase on the same period in 2015.

However, house prices are becoming increasingly unaffordable for many of those trying to get on the property ladder, he added. “More first-time buyers and would-be trader-uppers are finding themselves ill-equipped to cope with current house prices,” he said.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics in December suggested that prices in England had reached the £300,000 mark for the first time in the year to October. ONS figures are based on prices paid.

Bolton – the only UK town to see house prices fall – The Week UK