The Office for National Statistics (ONS) house price index for April showed that this was a 3.5 per cent annual increase or £9,000 higher. The growth has dropped from the 4.1 per cent yearly rise recorded in March.
Additionally, average house prices were down £7,000 from their peak in September.
Prices still above pre-pandemic levels
Vikki Jefferies, propositions director at Primis, said the figures were not surprising, “given the strain of higher interest rates and unpredictability of the housing market”.
However, she added: “It is a positive sign that house prices still remain well-above pre-pandemic levels, and the downward trend has been much less pronounced than some predicted at the beginning of the year.
“The main challenge for homebuyers now is a volatile mortgage market, which has seen mortgage rates rise to their highest levels since Q4 2022. With more than 400,000 people seeing their existing fixed deals end between July and September, it is crucial that borrowers seek financial advice as soon as possible to ensure they are getting the best deal.”
Malcolm Webb, technical director at Legal and General Surveying Services, said while recent headlines had painted a turbulent picture of the housing market, it was important to note that despite monthly fluctuations, values had continued to rise over the long-term.
He added: “Homeowners are likely, on average, to stay in their homes for well over 10 years, according to the latest government data, so it makes sense for them to take a longer view on house prices.
“For potential buyers, we know that this price growth can pose affordability challenges. The UK’s ongoing supply and demand imbalance, means that there’s a lot of upward pressure on house prices, particularly in certain areas, but this isn’t the case across the whole of the UK. There is a huge amount of regional variation in the UK property market that’s masked when we just focus on average prices and speaking with a local expert can help new buyers take advantage of that.”
‘May be the last increase for a while’
Karen Noye, mortgage expert at Quilter, said it was a surprise that house prices had risen and added: “However, considering the mortgage storm that is currently battering the country, this is likely the last time we will see an increase in prices for some time.”
“This morning’s flat inflation figure will have been exactly what mortgage borrowers didn’t want to see as those with low-cost deals will be bracing for their mortgage deals to come to an end and sadly find that their monthly payments skyrocket.”
Average house prices in England increased by 0.5 per cent month-on-month to £305,731, which was 3.7 per cent higher than last year.
The greatest increase was recorded in London, where average values rose by 2.1 per cent over the month to £533,687. Meanwhile, prices in the South East dropped by 0.5 per cent to £391,766. These represented annual increases of 2.4 per cent and 3.5 per cent respectively.
At 2.4 per cent, the annual uptick for house prices in London was the smallest growth recorded in April, while the North East saw the biggest jump with a 5.5 per cent rise to £159,900. Compared to March, average house prices in the North East were 1.8 per cent higher.
In Wales, the average house price fell since March by 1.3 per cent to £212,834. Annually, this was a two per cent increase.
Houses prices in Scotland rose by 1.3 per cent on average since March to £187,150, which was also a two per cent rise. Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland, average house prices fell by 1.8 per cent month-on-month to £172,005 and recorded a five per cent annual rise.
Property and buyer type
First-time buyers paid 0.6 per cent more for their homes on average in April, with values coming to £238,114. Former owner-occupiers saw prices go up by 0.5 per cent to £336,056. Annually, these represented rises of 3.3 per cent and 3.7 per cent respectively.
The value of an average detached home increased by 4.2 per cent annually to £453,771, while a semi-detached home’s value rose by 4.5 per cent to £278,729.
The average price of a terraced home went up by 2.1 per cent to £231,525 compared to last year, while the average price for a flat or maisonette increased by 2.7 per cent to £229,752.