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Average house prices and asking rents up on last year with a clear North/South growth divide

UK property prices have increased on average over the last 12 months, according to recent data from the Office for National Statistics.

The average price of a home in March this year rose to £227,000 – 1.4% higher than at the same time a year ago. 

Asking rents have also increased by 1.2% in the year to April. 

However, the regional picture shows large variations in market growth with a clear divide between the North and South growing ever more prominent. 

London prices saw an annual 1.9% drop, whilst the South East also saw a small decline. 

However, regions such as the North West, West Midlands and Yorkshire and The Humber, in particular, all saw significant and continued growth, with the latter registering 3.6% price increases. 

Founder director of James Pendleton estate agents, Lucy Pendleton, commented on the figures that: “A hot property market in the Midlands and North West is propping up the UK’s overall picture and this, together with declines that have so far not been dramatic in London, show property is still the relatively safe long-term investment it has always proved to be.”

London still, and by a distance, retains its title as the most expensive property market in the UK, and drilling down deeper into the data, it’s the high-end of the market which has seen the biggest drops in price demands, with properties within the £2m – £8m price range seeing a 20-30% decrease in the last four years. 

But to some commentators, plans to better connect London the rest of the UK will lessen the gap between property markets. 

Read more: Northern cities continue to lead in property price growth

According to Tomer Aboody, director at MT Finance: “Growth in property prices in the Midlands and north of the country shows confidence in projects like HS2, which will one day get off the ground. 

“The North-South divide is narrowing with increased ability to travel between the regions for work and it means that it may be possible to live in cheaper parts of the country.

“The appeal of greener pastures and a better standard of living will mean those areas will go up in value.”