House prices slipped in March – but there is no need to worry

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Yorkshire house prices slipped by 2.6 per cent in March leaving the region at the bottom of the national league table, though a leading economist says this is not bad news.

The dip in values echoed a national trend, according to the Land Registry’s latest market trend data. England and Wales saw prices fall by an average of 0.5 per cent over the month. Only London and the East saw a slight rise of 0.2 per cent.

Year-on-year, the story is more positive. Yorkshire prices saw an annual rise of 1.2 per cent, while its neighbours in the North East saw a 0.7 per cent fall and the North West enjoyed a 5.3 per cent increase. The national average growth between March 2015 and March 2016 was 6.7 per cent, which takes the average property value in England and Wales to £189,901. London experienced the greatest boost to its average property value over the last 12 months with a rise of 13.9 per cent and the East had the second highest with an annual increase of 10.7 per cent with the South East a close third with 10.3 per cent.

Yorkshire’s lack lustre price performance in March is a reflection of the economy, the North South divide and property supply, according to Martin Ellis, ‎Head of Housing Economics at Lloyds Banking Group.

He said: “The figures reflect the North South divide in the housing market.

“We are seeing signs that the North of England is performing less well and that reflects the fact that the economy is not as strong here as it is in London and the South East. In terms of housing, supply problems aren’t as acute here as they are in other parts of the country and lack of supply puts an upward pressure on prices.”

Mr Ellis, who is based in Halifax, stresses that Yorkshire’s decline in prices last month and a slow but steady annual growth should not be seen as a problem. “It is not a bad thing at all and I would not say that we are underperforming. In terms of affordability, it means it is easier for first-time buyers to get on the property ladder here. In areas where house prices are booming that is not the case and there are big issues about sustainability.”

According to the Land Registry price index, which is seen as the UKs most reliable source, the average house price in Yorkshire is £121, 841, in the North West it is £116,018, while the North East has the lowest in England and Wales at £97,581. In London the average price is £534,785 and in the South East it is £266,729

Mr Ellis predicts steady and stable growth for Yorkshire house prices over the next two to three years: “That is good for everyone, including first-time buyers, those who own property and want to see some growth and for businesses who are might be thinking of relocating to Yorkshire.”

Other Land Registry data released today shows that the number of completed house sales in England and Wales fell by five per cent to 54,254 compared with 56,937 in January 2015.

The number of properties sold in England and Wales for more than £1m increased by two per cent to 938 from 916 a year earlier. Repossessions fell by 51 per cent to 322 compared with 657 in January 2015