House price growth in 2018 is highest in Scotland, new study shows

Four of the top 10 house price losers are Greater London authorities while Scotland and Wales are amongst the winners, according to new research.

Middlesbrough was the hit hardest with houses losing 6% of £8,920 in value since 2017 and Ashford and Livingston have seen the biggest rise with house price increases three times the UK average.

All towns in the top 20 list outperformed the national average of 3.3% increase since 2017 and overall, towns and cities in London and the South East saw the biggest house price drops in 2018, according to the new research by lender the Halifax.

Houses in Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire dropped 5% in value whilst towns like Watford, Romford and Havering, all based around London, saw a 2% decrease in value in 2018.

Blackburn, down 4%, Ipswich, St Helens and Lincoln, all down 3%, and Doncaster down 2%, were the only other towns outside of London and the South East to be included in the 20 biggest losers.

The majority of top performers were towns in Scotland, Wales, and North and central England. Ashford and Livingston both saw house price increases of 10.5%, or three times the national average, placing them top of the winners table.

Scotland was also represented by Edinburgh, which has seen house prices grow 8.6% this year. Bridgend and Cardiff in Southern Wales saw increases of 8.3% and 7.5% respectively, whilst towns like Warrington saw a rise of 7.8%, Stockport a rise of 6.8% and Leeds a rise of 6.1%.

Just last year, 15 of the top 20 house price performers were based in London and Southern England. This year, just five make the list, and none of these are based in London. Alongside Ashford, Reading saw a rise of 9.5%, Maidstone a rise of 6.9%, Dagenham a rise of 6% and Basingstoke was up 5.8%.

‘This year marks a significant shift away from the traditional dominance of London and the South in our annual house price table, with other locations now filling the top 20 spots,’ said Russell Galley, managing director of the Halifax.

‘Scotland and Wales are well represented, with the Scottish town of Livingston sharing top spot and Bridgend in Wales taking fifth place. Towns in East Anglia, West Midlands, the North West and Yorkshire and the Humber also feature prominently, showing that solid investments can be found away from the capital,’ he added.

Indeed, properties within Greater London suffered worst in 2018 with four local authorities making up the top 10 losers. Houses in Greenwich saw prices fall by 3%, as did homes in Sutton, while prices fell by 2% in Harrow and Kingston-upon-Thames.

‘The majority of towns in which house prices have dropped in the last year are situated within in Greater London, marking a dramatic turnaround in fortunes. It is well documented that house prices in many areas of London are experiencing challenging conditions following very strong historic price growth. The large deposits required for London homes, a weak relative supply of housing and of course the current economic uncertainty will all have played a part in 2018,’ Galley pointed out.

The average house price in four towns across the UK has increased by over £20,000. In Ashford, the average house price has increased by £29,983 since 2017 followed by Solihull at £23,772, Edinburgh at £21,029 and Maidstone at £20,870.

Of all towns included in the analysis, 25 recorded declines in house prices in 2018, with the largest fall in Aylesbury from £328,136 in 2017 to £311,186 in 2018, a fall of £16,950.

The next four biggest losers in cash terms were in the Greater London area. Harrow saw a fall of £13,530, Kingston-upon-Thames down £12,532, Greenwich down £11,906 and Sutton down £10,787.

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