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2015 UK house prices review – What actually happened?

 
 
 
 
  28 Feb 2016

The start of a New Year is an exciting time to look forward but it is also important to look back and review what has occurred. This is extremely true for the property market and UK house prices experienced a notable change in 2015.

The Nationwide Building Society was amongst the financial market professionals calling for policymakers to play a bigger part in the UK property market. This came on the back of the Building Society saying that average property prices in the United Kingdom rose by 4.5% in 2015. The firm said that the average property price rose to £196,999 in the course of the year while the building society also stated that the average pay had risen by 2%.

There is consensus that property prices rose in 2015

The figures stated by the Halifax suggest that the average price of properties in the UK grew even faster than what Nationwide suggest. Halifax stated that UK house prices rose by 9.5% in 2015, a figure which was the largest increase since 2006, before the most recent financial crisis. The Halifax stated that the average property price in the UK as of December 2015 was £208,286. The company also stated that the annual growth rate was the highest since 2006. In total, the Halifax figures suggest that the average cost of buying a property in the UK rose by £18,858 from December of 2014 to December 2015.

The overall view to take from the market is that properties are becoming less affordable for people looking to enter the property market. There are clearly areas of the country that are more attractive and affordable but with economic and employment issues coming into effect, it is not as simple as saying as people should relocate to where property is affordable. The stamp duty changes will have an impact on the market in 2016 but the figures for 2015 indicate why there is a growing need for rental options and the buy-to-let market to be available for buyers.

London prices rose the most as you would expect

As you would expect, the biggest change occurred in London. Halifax figures state that the average home cost 12.2% more in December of 2015 than it did in December of 2014, with the average price of a London property standing at more than £456,000. The gap between the North and South of the country has widened, with the gap standing at close to £159,000. The gap has widened by around £23,000 compared to the end of year figures at 2014.

With the stamp duty changes already having an impact on the 2016 property market, and most observers predicting a further rise in property prices of around at least 5%, it looks as though the trends of 2015 will continue into 2016. The market may be impacted by the stamp duty changes from the 1st of April but currently, the changes have brought an increase in demand for properties and this has seen a similar rise in asking prices.


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