UK average house prices increased by 2.6% over the year to April 2020, down from 3.5% in March 2020 according to the latest ONS House Price Index.
Average house prices increased over the year in England to £251,000 (2.5%), Wales to £169,000 (5.0%), Scotland to £153,000 (1.6%) and Northern Ireland to £141,000 (3.8%). London’s average house prices increased by 2.3% over the year to April.
The average UK house price was £235,000 in April, which is £6,000 higher than the same time the year previous. Average house prices in the UK decreased by 0.2% between March and April 2020, compared with an increase of 0.7% in the same period a year ago.
The lowest annual growth was in the North East, where prices decreased by 2.3% over the year to April 2020.
London house prices remain the most expensive at an average of £480,000. The North East continued to have the lowest average house price, at £126,000, and is the only English region yet to surpass its pre-economic downturn peak of July 2007.
The index is based on completed housing transactions, with the price data feeding into the April index will reflect those agreements that occurred before the government measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 took hold.
Sam Mitchell, chief executive at online estate agent Strike, said: “The latest stats from the ONS confirm what we already knew as property transactions started to come to a halt over the lockdown period with house prices falling from March. But the good news is, today we have a very different picture in front of us.
“Now that restrictions have been lifted property demand is booming and being released into a low-interest-rate environment the government’s stamp duty holiday has been like fuel thrown on the fire. Over the past few months, we’ve seen at least a 50% increase in demand from buyers now versus before lockdown and we are on average agreeing twice as many sales per week as we were pre-lockdown which is astonishing.
“To ease people’s nerves and to overcome the challenges caused by social distancing measures in place, some estate agents have restructured their traditional models to offer virtual tools and tech services such as online viewings. Going forward this will be crucial to keep the market moving.
“Consumer confidence in using online services is growing too and it’s becoming more commonplace in the property industry as the demand has never been higher. Our recent research shows half of sellers are now likely to use an online estate agent to sell their home. A statistic that wouldn’t have seemed real six months ago.”