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Property and Environment

The pockets of Britain bucking the Brexit backlash

Concerns about Brexit have taken their toll on Britain’s property market.

After ‘almost grinding to a complete halt’ at the beginning of the year, the annual growth in house prices remained subdued in February, according Nationwide Building Society.

It said the average value of a home in Britain was £211,304 last month, down from £211,966 a month earlier.

Most commentators attribute the sluggish housing market to the uncertainty around Brexit, arguing that many of those looking to buy and sell properties are delaying their decisions until the country leaves the EU.

Zoopla reveals the rise in house prices since the Brexit vote in June 2016

 

Zoopla reveals the rise in house prices since the Brexit vote in June 2016

But amid this doom and gloom for the property market, there are pockets around the country that have seen a surprising rise in values.

Indeed, several cities have performed especially strongly since the Brexit vote in June 2016.

In particular, Leicester and Manchester have seen price growth of 17.2 per cent and 16.6 per cent respectively since the 2016 vote.

A further 10 locations around the country have also seen double digit house price growth during the period.

The list produced by property website Zoopla is dominated by spots in Scotland and the north of England, including Nottingham, Edinburgh and Leeds.

The only place in southern England in the top 10 locations is Bournemouth, while Cardiff is the only location in Wales.

HOUSE PRICE RISES IN PAST YEAR

House prices in Britain’s largest cities have risen for the first time in three and half years, according to Zoopla.

Zoopla’s UK Cities House Price Index report claimed that all 20 of Britain’s biggest cities saw values increase year-on-year.

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It is the first time all 20 cities have seen positive growth since August 2015, primarily due to Aberdeen seeing prices lift year-on-year with a 1.8 per cent increase in February.

Annual house price growth ranged from 6.8 per cent in Leicester to 0.2  per cent in Cambridge last month.

Annual house price growth in stood at 5.8 per cent in Manchester, 5.6 per cent in Belfast, 5.1 per cent in Birmingham, 5 per cent in Cardiff, 4.6 per cent in Edinburgh, 3.5 per cent in Newcastle, 2.6 per cent in Bristol and 1 per cent in Oxford.

House prices in Leicester have increased by an impressive 17.2%

London has been hit harder than most areas of the country as this is where prices tend to be higher than elsewhere in Britain.

It means the growth in house prices has been relatively low in the capital, increasing by only two per cent since the Brexit vote.

However, the outlook is changing according to one expert. Richard Donnell, research and insight director at Zoopla, said: ‘House prices in London are starting to firm.

‘Buyers who have stood on the side-lines since 2015 are starting to see greater value for money, seeking out buying opportunities amidst the uncertainty of Brexit. This is supported by greater realism on pricing by sellers.

‘We do not believe London prices will rebound but it is a positive for sales volumes, which are still 25 per cent lower than in 2016.’

He added: ‘House price growth has remained strong in regional cities over the last three years rising as much as 17 per cent since the Brexit vote but signs of weaker growth are building as affordability pressures grow.

‘While the Brexit debate reaches fever pitch, data on housing sales and demand for mortgages shows buyers are largely unmoved.

‘Transaction volumes over 2018 remained in line with the five-year average. The latest data shows that housing transactions have increased slightly in the first two months of 2019.

‘With unemployment at a record low and mortgage rates still averaging two per cent, buyers appear to be largely shrugging off Brexit uncertainty until there is a material change in the overall outlook.’

House prices in Edinburgh have grown by 12.6% since the Brexit vote in June 2016

Zoopla said house prices across the country had climbed 8.8 per cent since the Brexit vote, or the equivalent of £17,624, from £200,444 to £218,068.

It follows Nationwide saying last month how prices had dropped 0.1 per cent between January to February as Brexit approached.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said: ‘After almost grinding to a complete halt in January, annual house price growth remained subdued in February.’

‘Indicators of housing market activity, such as the number of property transactions and the number of mortgages approved for house purchase, have remained broadly stable in recent months, but survey data suggests that sentiment has softened.’

Source: By  MYRA BUTTERWORTH

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