The last year has been declared the ‘Year of the North’ by Halifax, with the region showing the country’s largest house price rises. The lender’s House Price Index for the second quarter of 2003 shows annual regional rises of 36.4% in the North, with Yorkshire and The Humber showing rises of 33%.
All other national regions have experienced double digit increases, but London is at the bottom of the table with the smallest rise in prices at 11.5%. Top spot in the league of towns was Macclesfield, which showed a 51% increase over the last year. The price of an average house in the town has also risen above £200,000 for the first time.
Martin Ellis, chief economist at the Halifax, said: ‘There has been a considerable widening in the North/South property divide over the last ten years. This gap has narrowed a little recently as house price growth in the North has outstripped that in the South. Continuing housing market buoyancy in the North over the second half of the year combined with a pause for breath in the South should close the gap further. Property prices in the South will, however, remain significantly higher than those in the North.’
London house prices are still 69% above the UK average. Ten years ago, prices in the capital were only 23% above the national average. In monetary terms, the gap was £14,200 in the second quarter of 1993, and had risen to £89,000 in the same period in 2003.
Looking at the national picture, annual house price inflation has fallen for the seventh month in a row, according to online property market analysts, Rightmove.co.uk. It stood at 26.5% in January 2003 and is now 13.2%. Greater London has bucked the trend and is showing an increase of 2.1%, with the South East (+0.5%) and East Anglia (+1.4) following suit.