House prices rise by 6.4% – but dip in £1m-plus sales

Rising property prices

Property prices continued to grow steadily in England and Wales in December 2015, according to the Land Registry’s latest House Price Index.

The cost of the average home in England and Wales rose by 1.2% from November, with an annual increase of 6.4%.

But the number of properties sold for £1 million-plus dropped by 2% in October 2015 both in London and in England and Wales, as compared with the previous year – the latest figures available. And sales of £2 million-plus houses fell by 17%.

The Land Registry’s House Price Index is published using data collected on all residential housing transactions, whether for cash or with a mortgage in England and Wales. It uses a sample size that is larger than all other statistical measures available.

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London house prices continue to spiral

Prices in the capital continued to outperform other regions, with a monthly growth of 2.1% and an annual growth of 12.4%.

This means that the average price of a London property was £514,097 in December – compared with £188,270 in the rest of England and Wales.

The London borough with the highest annual price rise was Barking and Dagenham – up 15.3%. Other London boroughs showing significant house-price hikes were Hillingdon (15.2%), Enfield (13.4%), Lewisham (12.6%) and Havering (12.4%).

Meanwhile, prime central London areas had little growth, with Hammersmith and Fulham showing the smallest annual increase at 3.3%, followed by Kensington and Chelsea at 3.6%.

Fall in house completions and repossessions

There was a drop in the number of completed house sales. There were 79,960 in October 2015, compared with 86,452 in the previous year – down 8%.

Repossessions meanwhile fell by 51%, from 888 to 431 across England and Wales. This fall was more marked in London, with 71% fewer repossession than in October 2014.

Jeremy Leaf, a former RICS chairman and north London estate agent, comments: “The decline in number of property transactions continues to be a worry. If people aren’t able to move in and out of the market when they want to, there will be an inevitable knock-on effect for the rest of the economy.

“With the high cost of moving, continued shortage of supply and affordability issues with tougher mortgage criteria, this situation looks unlikely to change any time soon.”

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