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North West Sees Strongest UK Property Price Growth in March

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    Annual Growth Continues But Slows Down in UK Housing Market

    Halifax’s latest House Price Index covering data for March 2024 gives insight into the improving state of the UK property market.

    The report states that UK house prices dipped for the first time in six months. The monthly change registered as a drop of 1%. In cash terms, this means the average house price decreased by around £2900 to £288,430, according to Halifax’s data.

    But prices are still higher than last year. The annual growth in house prices for March was 0.3%. This is down from the 1.6% increase in February, but the growth trajectory continues at a slower pace.

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      North West Comes Out Top in England for Annual Growth

      Northern Ireland was the strongest performing nation or region in the UK, boasting growth of 4.3% year-on-year.

      When it comes to England, the North-South divide persists in the property market, with Scotland and North England out-performing the South. North West had the highest annual growth in England, sitting at 3.7% and making the average price £232,315.

      Eastern England had the biggest fall in house prices. A drop of 0.9%, or £2878, over the last year means that the average property price now stands at £330,627.

      Unsurprisingly, London still has the highest average house price in the UK, at an eye-watering £539,917 after a yearly increase of 0.4%.

      Kim Kinnaird, Director at Halifax Mortgages, said: “That a monthly fall should occur following five consecutive months of growth is not entirely unexpected, particularly in view of the reset the market has been going through since interest rates began to rise sharply in 2022. Despite this, house prices have shown surprising resilience in the face of significantly higher borrowing costs.

      “The broader picture is that house prices are up year-on-year, reflecting the opposing forces of an easing cost of living squeeze – now that pay growth is outpacing general inflation – and relatively high-interest rates. Taking a slightly longer-term view, prices haven’t changed much over the past couple of years, moving in a narrow range since the spring of 2022, and are still almost £50,000 above pre-pandemic levels.”

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      Halifax also looked at other resources to put together a picture of recent housing market activity, but note that this data refers to February rather than March. According to property transaction data from HMRC, UK home sales increased in February – up 1.2% compared to January’s figure (seasonally adjusted). However, year-on-year SA transactions were 5.6% lower than in February 2023.

      Bank of England figures show that the number of mortgages approved for house purchases increased by 7.7% in February. Year-on-year, there was an increase of 39.8%.

      The RICS Residential Market Survey suggests a positive trend in buyer demand and new listings. New buyer enquiries continued rising with a second consecutive net balance reading of +6% in February, but agreed sales were down -3% after +4% the previous month. The most robust net rise in new instructions since October 2022 was also observed. New listings were up +21% (from +12% the month before).

      To learn more about the UK property market, take a look at some of our buy-to-let area guides dealing with topics such as Harrogate investment properties and Battersea buy-to-let.

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      Jessica Ferris

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      Jessica is a property content writer at RWinvest. Keeping a close eye on the UK property market, Jessica helps our readers stay informed and up to date on the latest market news and statistics.