House prices fall across the UK in first quarter


The latest quarterly house prices index from Nationwide shows that house prices in all of the UK suffered double-digit falls over the past year. The average house price stands at £149,709, an annual percentage fall of 16.5% and a quarterly fall of 4.2%. The most expensive region remains London, while Scotland registered the smallest annual price fall.


[UKPRwire, Fri Apr 03 2009] The latest quarterly house prices index from Nationwide shows that house prices in all of the UK suffered double-digit falls over the past year. The average house price stands at £149,709, an annual percentage fall of 16.5% and a quarterly fall of 4.2%. The most expensive region remains London, while Scotland registered the smallest annual price fall.

House prices in England fell 4.4% in the first quarter of 2009 and were down 16.9% year-on-year, with the average price now standing at £163,989. There were regional differences, with the south performing worse than the north, driven by sharp falls in London (more than 18%) and the southeast – prices in the south fell at an annual rate of 17.6% compared to 15.7% in the north. The biggest quarterly fall in England was in East Anglia (5.6%), followed by London (5.3%). Of the cities, Norwich recorded the largest annual price fall, of 23%, while in Bath prices fell by only 7%.

Although the north, southwest and West Midlands saw comparatively smaller declines in house prices compared to elsewhere in England, the outlook in those areas was gloomier, with more people predicting further falls in the near term.

House prices in Scotland fell by 12.6% over the year, a slower rate than other parts of the UK. While it is still the most resilient market (and has been the best performing part of the UK for five consecutive quarters), the situation could worsen further as a result of growing unemployment in the country’s hard-hit financial services industry. And the pace of price falls in the first quarter of 2009 picked up significantly, standing at 5.1% compared with only 0.1% in the last quarter of 2008. Of Scotland’s main cities, the largest annual fall was seen in Aberdeen, at 13%, with prices in Glasgow and Edinburgh experiencing falls of 10% in the year to the first quarter. Southern Scotland fared somewhat better, with prices falls of 4% compared with a 6% annual fall in the last quarter of 2008.

House prices in Wales saw the biggest quarterly fall across all of the UK, at 8.3%. This raised the annual rate of decline to 18.2%, significantly higher than the 12.1% drop in the last quarter of 2008. The average price of a home in Wales stands at £123,990, with the figure in Cardiff being a much higher £181,345. Although prices have fallen by 14% in Cardiff over the past year, they are still more than double the levels of a decade ago.

House prices in Northern Ireland, while still recording the largest annual rate of fall in the UK, fell at a slower rate in the first quarter of 2009, standing at 4.1% in comparison to a 8% drop at the end of last year; and the annual rate of decline has moderated from 34.2% in the last quarter of 2008 to 29.6% in this year’s first quarter. Prices in Belfast, however, fell sharply, by 37%, bringing the average price of home there to £190,915. For other areas of Northern Ireland the average price is £138,537.


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