17th April 2015
House prices has seen their smallest annual change in more than a year but still managed to hit another record high.
The latest house price index from LSL Property Services shows prices in England and Wales edged up 0.2% last month, or 5.6% over the year, to push the average property value to a record high of £275,123.
However, increases recorded show that price growth has slowed considerably. In August 2014, prices were up 11.2% in a year, double the current annual increase.
Last month was the smallest annual change in property seen for 16 months, with the slowdown more prevalent in the south of the country – particularly the capital – where house prices have risen considerably in the past 18 months.
LSL said the slowdown in the south could be blamed on higher stamp duty costs for properties worth £1 million or more and the threat of a mansion tax before the general election.
Adrian Gill, director of Reeds Rains and Your Move estate agents said: ‘Property prices in England and Wales continue to hit new heights, yet the cogs of the machinery are flagging to the most laboured pace we’ve witnessed for 16 months.
Gill added that the general election could be a factor pulling down house prices as people assess the political landscape before buying a property..
‘Sales appear to be treading water,’ he said. ‘Completed home sales in March 2015 totalled 72,000 – on the surface, this marks a strong increase on February, but delving a little deeper reveals this is only half the uplift we would usually expect for the market at this typically animated time of year,’ he said.
‘But this is far from a typical year. With the general election tightening its tempo every week up until 7 May, cautious buyers are holding back to wait and see which way the chips fall. Property regulation is a hot topic in one of the most uncertain UK elections in a generation – no one wants to have the rug pulled from under their feet before they’ve made it through the front door.’