House price growth was strongest in Wales while London saw the lowest annual growth, the HM Land Registry House Price Index has found.
In Wales house prices increased by 6.7% in the year to April 2019, up from 3.9% in the year to March 2019. Meanwhile London saw prices drop by 1.2% over the year to April, up from a fall of 2.5% in March 2019.
Jonathan Harris, director of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said: “Price growth continued to rise in the year to April, although this masked significant regional differences.
“Wales saw the strongest house price growth while London once again saw the greatest annual fall as areas outside the capital pick up the pace as London falters.
“That said, there is still a significant premium to pay to buy property in London and the South East with first-time buyers increasingly having to call upon the Bank of Mum and Dad for help with the deposit.
“Lenders continue to cut mortgage rates so there is no upwards pressure on pricing – the biggest challenge is meeting lenders’ affordability criteria and pulling together that all-important deposit.”
Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, added: “Once again, we are seeing house prices in London acting as a drag on a market which is softening anyway.
“Prices continue to be supported by lack of stock, improving affordability and almost record low mortgage rates and unemployment.
“Overall, despite renewed interest from buyers there are too many sellers still wedded to the idea that prices will increase perhaps when Brexit is resolved and/or some political stability returns.
“The reality is that only those sellers who are realistic enough to recognise new market conditions are proving successful.”
The slowest annual growth was in England, where prices rose by 1.1% in the year to April 2019.
Scotland saw house prices increase by 1.6% over the last 12 months, while house prices in Northern Ireland increased by 3.5% over the year to Q1 2019.
Average house prices in the UK increased by 1.4% in the year to April 2019, down from 1.6% in March 2019.
Gareth Lewis, commercial director of property lender MT Finance, said: ‘There is a welcome absence of doom and gloom as the housing market continues to be muted on the transactional side but with no great price shocks either.
“House price growth is picking up outside of London and the South East, which is encouraging as it creates more balance to the country as a whole, although London prices still remain at a premium.
“Hotspots for investors include Middlesbrough, Nottingham, Newcastle and university areas, where the transactional flow has greatly increased as investors chase yield. Values are therefore creeping up in response to greater demand for property in those areas.”
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ (RICS) April 2019 UK Residential Market Survey results point to overall market trends remaining very similar to those reported in recent months, with headline indicators on demand and supply remaining in negative territory.
The UK Property Transactions Statistics for April 2019 showed that on a seasonally adjusted basis, the number of transactions on residential properties with a value of £40,000 or greater was 99,420, 0.8% higher than a year ago. Between March 2019 and April 2019, transactions decreased by 0.3%.
The Bank of England’s Money and Credit release showed that mortgage approvals for house purchase (an indicator of future lending) ticked up in April 2019 to around 66,300.
This was close to the average of the past two years and reversed the fall seen in March 2019.