Prices in England and Wales increased by 0.5% in February

Property prices in England and Wales increased by 0.5% in February, taking the average price of a home to £302,435, the latest agent index shows.

It was the third month in a row that prices crept up but they are still down 0.5% compared with the same month in 2018, according to the data from the Your Move index.

Overall, prices remain subdued with an estimated 59,100 sales in February 2019 and the report says that given the challenges of affordability from a decade of rising prices and sluggish wage growth, a short slowdown in prices combined with increases in pay could be a positive outcome for the market in the long term.

But there are considerable regional variations with Wales seeing the strongest annual growth of 3%, led by a 5.3% rise in Cardiff while price falls are largely in the South of England with prices down 1.7% year on year in the South East, down 1% in the East of England and down 1.5% in London.

After Wales the strongest growth year on year was 1.7% in the West Midlands, followed by 1.3% in the North West and just 0.8% in the East Midlands. The North East saw prices fall on an annual basis by 1.6%.

But in the South East some locations are seeing growth with prices up 7% on the Isle of Wight and up 4.2% in Southampton. Along the South coast there was also strong growth of 7.3% in Brighton.

There was a new peak average price in Bristol even although the rise was just 0.3%, while prices increased by 3.8% in Gloucestershire and by 3.9% in Somerset whereas they fell by 10.2% in Bath and North East Somerset and were down 10.2% in North Somerset.

In the North East prices fell significantly in Cleveland by 7.3% and were down by 6.5% in Middlesbrough, the index data also shows. Outside these areas, though, growth continues and the majority of local authorities, some 59 out of 108, saw averages prices rise, although for the most part the increases are modest.

There was also a new peak average price in February in Manchester where values have increased 3.1% in the last year but in the East Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber growth is under 1%.

‘Whilst a challenging market it’s a mixed picture with some regions still experiencing price rises; there clearly continues to be demand for property and a need for more homes to come to market,’ said Oliver Blake, managing director of Your Move and Reeds Rains estate agents.

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