UK house prices fell by 1% in March

The price of a typical UK house declined by 1% in March leaving the price of a typical home now at £163,327.

The latest Nationwide report found that house prices are 0.9% lower than one year ago.

Commenting on the figures, Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s Chief Economist, said: “The price of a typical UK home fell by 1% in March, pushing the year on year rate of house price growth into negative territory for the first time in six months. House prices were 0.9% lower than March 2011.

“A slowdown was to be expected, given the imminent expiry of the stamp duty holiday, which had provided a temporary boost to house prices in early 2012 as buyers brought forward purchases that would otherwise have taken place later in the year.

“This dampening effect on housing market activity and prices may fade over the course of the summer, especially if the wider economic outlook begins to improve and other policy measures, such as the Government’s NewBuy scheme are successful in supporting buyer demand.

“However, in our view the challenging economic backdrop is likely to continue to act as a drag, with house prices moving sideways or modestly lower over the next twelve months.”

Quarterly Regional Picture:
Scotland: Scotland recorded a 0.5% seasonally adjusted increase in the first quarter, resulting in an improvement in the annual rate of change to -0.2%. Dundee & Angus was the best performing area, with prices up 1% year-on-year. Perthshire & Stirling was the weakest performing area.

Wales was the worst performing UK region in Q1, with a -3.1% seasonally adjusted price decline. Consequently, the annual rate of change fell from +1.5% to -2.9%, making Wales the second weakest region on an annual basis, behind Northern Ireland.

Cardiff, the most expensive area in Wales, was also the strongest performing over the year. Mid & West Wales, which comprises Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys, is the least expensive part of Wales and continued to see prices fall over the past twelve months.

House prices continue to fall in Northern Ireland, with prices in the first quarter of 2012 down 8.6% year-onyear. Average prices have fallen more than 50% from their peak in 2007, and are now similar to the levels prevailing in early 2005. All areas saw price falls over the year, the largest being the City of Belfast, which saw a 15% year-on-year decline.

Annual house price growth in London moderated to 2.3% (from 5.4% in Q4 2011), although it remained the best performing UK region. Hackney saw the strongest growth, with prices up 12% compared with last year. Brent was the weakest performing borough, with a 1% fall in average prices.

Average house prices in England fell slightly during the first quarter of the year, although they were still up 0.7% compared with the same period in 2011.

London remained the best performing region, with a 2.3% annual increase. The majority of English regions
have experienced small price rises over the past twelve months, with the exception of the West Midlands, Yorkshire & Humberside and the North West. The North West continues to be the worst performing English
region, with prices down 2.2% compared with Q1 2011.

A north/south divide continues to persist, with annual price growth in southern England (South West, Outer
South East, Outer Metropolitan, London and East Anglia) outpacing that of northern England (West Midlands,
East Midlands, Yorkshire & Humberside, North West and North) for the twelfth consecutive quarter.
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