UK house prices increased by 5.5% in the year to April 2015, down from 9.6% in the year to March 2015
House price annual inflation was 5.8% in England, 1.3% in Wales, 2.2% in Scotland and 8.8% in Northern Ireland
The pace of annual house price growth fell across the majority of the UK in April 2015
Annual house price increases in England were driven by an annual increase in the East (9.6%) and the South East (8.4%)
Excluding London and the South East, UK house prices increased by 5.0% in the 12 months to April 2015
On a seasonally adjusted basis, average house prices fell by 1.3% between March and April 2015
In April 2015, prices paid by first-time buyers were 5.8% higher on average than in April 2014. For owner-occupiers (existing owners), prices increased by 5.4% for the same period
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) House Price Index (HPI), previously published by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), is a monthly release that publishes figures for mix-adjusted average house prices and house price indices for the UK, its component countries and regions.
The index is calculated using mortgage financed transactions that are collected via the regulated mortgage survey by the Council of Mortgage Lenders. These cover the majority of mortgage lenders in the UK. The HPI complements other measures of inflation published by us such as the consumer price indices, the producer price indices and the services producer price indices.
This statistical bulletin provides comprehensive information on the change in house prices on a monthly and annual basis. It also includes analysis by country, region, type of buyer (first-time buyers and former owner-occupiers) and type of dwelling (new dwelling or pre-owned dwelling). Historical series for all accompanying tables that transferred from DCLG are also available in the data section of this release.
The figures published in this release are not seasonally adjusted unless otherwise stated.Back to table of contents
UK average house prices increased by 5.5% over the year to April 2015, down from an increase of 9.6% in the year to March 2015 (Figure 1). The average UK mix-adjusted house price in April 2015 was £271,000.
In April 2015, the UK mix-adjusted house price index fell 0.6% from the record level witnessed in March 2015 to reach 208.4 (Figure 2). The UK index is 12.3% higher than the pre-economic downturn peak of 185.5 in January 2008.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, average house prices fell by 1.3% between March and April 2015, compared to an increase of 2.3% in average prices during the same period a year earlier.
Table A: house price index - summary of UK all dwellings, April 2015
|Index - February 2002=100|
|Index||Percentage 12 month change||Index||Percentage monthly change||£|
|Source: Office for National Statistics|
|1. Average house prices are not comparable between years as they reflect a different mix of houses being transacted. Indices have been chain linked so they are comparable year-on-year. For more information please see the re-weighting section in the background notes|
|2. SA = Seasonally adjusted|
|3. NSA = Not seasonally adjusted|
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During the year to April 2015, average house prices increased 5.8% in England (down from 9.4 in the year to March 2015), 1.3% in Wales (down from 5.7%), 2.2% in Scotland (down from 14.6%) and 8.8% in Northern Ireland (up from 7.5%).
The slowing of the annual growth in Scotland between March and April (Figure 3) is likely to be caused by the introduction of the land and buildings transaction tax, which replaced UK stamp duty land tax in Scotland from 1 April 2015. The impending introduction of this tax saw a significant increase in the number of mortgages for house sales in Scotland between February and March 2015, a significant proportion of which was for houses costing more than £500,000 and ultimately contributed to the high annual growth witnessed last month (14.6%). This month has seen the pattern of mortgage sales in Scotland return to levels in line with longer-term trends.
In April 2015, the England and Scotland house price indices both fell from the record levels witnessed last month (Figure 4).
The index for England reached 206.6 in April 2015. This is 0.2% below the record level witnessed in March 2015 (207.0) but 14.3% higher than the pre-economic downturn peak in January 2008 of 180.8. The index for Scotland (224.9) in April 2015 is 7.5% below the record level witnessed in March 2015 (243.2). Scotland prices are now 2.5% below the pre-economic downturn peak of June 2008 (230.6). The index for Wales (217.2) in April 2015 is 3.3% below the record level of 224.6 in January 2015. House prices in Wales are 2.2% lower than the pre-economic downturn peak of January 2008 (222.1). The index for Northern Ireland (154.5) in April 2015 is 45.1% below the peak of August 2007 (281.5).
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The pace of annual house price growth slowed across the majority of the 9 English regions in April 2015 (Figure 5). The largest annual increase was in the East at 9.6% (down from 11.4% in the year to March 2015) followed by the South East (8.4% increase in the year to April 2015, down from 11.2%). The lowest growth in April 2015 was in the North East; here prices increased by 1.2% over the year. London prices increased by 4.3% over the year to April 2015 (down from 11.2% in the year to March 2015). This is the lowest annual rate of growth for London since October 2012.
Excluding London and the South East, UK house prices increased by 5.0% over the year to April 2015, down from 8.1% in the year to March 2015.
This month, average house prices in only 3 of the 9 English regions (East Midlands, South East and South West) remain at record levels (Figure 6).
The price index for the East Midlands reached a record level of 199.1 in April 2015. This is up 0.5% from the previous joint record level of 198.1 in March 2015 (along with August 2014). The price index for the East Midlands is 2.9% higher than the pre-economic downturn peak in January 2008 (193.5). The price index for the South East reached a record level of 193.2 in April 2015. This is up 1.0% from the previous record in March 2015 (191.3) and 16.0% higher than the pre-economic downturn peak in January 2008 (166.5). The price index for the South West reached a record level of 189.1 in April 2015. This is up 0.4% from the previous record in March 2015 (188.4) and 4.6% higher than the pre-economic downturn peak in October 2007 (180.7).
The price index for London is now 1.6% below the record level of 243.5 in August 2014 with an index of 239.7 in April 2015. However, the London index is 37.4% higher than the pre-economic downturn peak in January 2008 (174.5).
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Average mix-adjusted house prices in April 2015 stood at £284,000 in England, £169,000 in Wales, £147,000 in Northern Ireland and £191,000 in Scotland (Figure 7).
In April 2015, London continued to be the English region with the highest average house price at £493,000 and the North East had the lowest average house price at £155,000. London, the South East and the East all had prices higher than the UK average price of £271,000.
Excluding London and the South East, the average UK mix-adjusted house price was £208,000.
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The average price for properties bought by first-time buyers increased by 5.8% over the year to April 2015, down from an increase of 7.8% in March 2015 (Figure 8). In April 2015, the average price paid for a house by a first-time buyer was £209,000.
The average price for properties bought by former owner-occupiers (existing owners) increased by 5.4% in the year to April 2015, down from an increase of 10.3% in March 2015. In April 2015, the average price paid for a house by a former owner-occupier was £314,000.
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During the year to April 2015, prices paid for new dwellings increased by 9.0% on average, compared with an increase of 13.6% in the year to March 2015 (Figure 9). The average UK house price for new dwellings in April 2015 was £270,000.
During the year to April 2015, prices paid for pre-owned dwellings increased by 5.3% on average, compared with an increase of 9.2% in the year to March 2015. The average UK house price for pre-owned dwellings in April 2015 was £272,000.
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The UK housing market showed signs of easing in April 2015, with prices increasing by 5.5% over the previous twelve months. This is a 4.1 percentage point monthly fall in the annual rate of inflation, the largest since April 2005. One of the largest drivers of this fall was the sharp weakening in London annual house price growth, where house prices grew at a slower annual rate than the UK average for the first time since February 2006.
April’s figures are a continuation of the softening of the housing market that has been evident since the third quarter of 2014. Since September 2014, the rate of annual house price inflation has been declining gently, subsiding from 12.1% to 5.5% in the latest data. This easing is reflected in a number of indicators of the housing market, which suggest demand and supply are now more balanced than in recent months.
A number of indicators published by the Bank of England have noted subdued demand for mortgages, a leading indicator of housing purchases, suggesting buyers are becoming more circumspect about taking on large mortgages. Together with the introduction of more stringent borrowing criteria in last April’s Mortgage Market Review, mortgage approvals in the three months to April 2015 was 4.3% lower than in the same three months a year ago. This lower demand for mortgages is reflected in transaction levels, with HMRC’s statistics showing that the number of homes bought in April 2015 was 5.6% down on last year.
While housing demand appears to have eased, several indicators suggest supply has increased but nonetheless remains tight. The ONS’ Output in the Construction Industry release shows that private new housing work rose by 16.6% in the year to April, possibly indicating some growth in the supply of new homes. Data from the Department for Communities and Local Government also shows that in the first quarter of 2015, housing completions were 21% above their level a year ago, albeit well below their pre-downturn peak.
Broader economic indicators suggest that the economy continued to grow relatively strongly during the first quarter of 2015, which may in turn feed into consumer expectations of the housing market. Labour market conditions have continued to improve, as unemployment fell to 5.5% in the three months to March 2015. Recent weakness in inflationary pressure and a return of nominal earnings growth have also improved the economic position of households, with possible implications for the evolution of house prices.Back to table of contents
In February 2015, we published annual house price statistics for small areas. This data was published for the period 1995 to 2013. This publication will be updated with 2014 data on Wednesday 24 June 2015, along with small revisions to earlier periods. These statistics report the count and median price (not mix-adjusted) of all dwellings sold and registered in a given year. The statistics are calculated using open data from the Land Registry and are reported for a range of sub national geographies including middle layer super output areas, local authorities and parliamentary constituencies in England and Wales. Full details regarding the methodology used to produce the price statistics is published in the accompanying Quality and Methodology Information document (290.7 Kb Pdf).
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The HPI monthly and quarterly reference table (3.59 Mb Excel sheet) provides full historical series for the monthly tables accompanying the house price index statistical bulletin. This month, tables 1 to 9 have been updated with the latest monthly estimates for April 2015. The seasonally adjusted figures in Table 7 have been revised this month as scheduled.
The HPI annual reference table (1.18 Mb Excel sheet) contains all the annual live tables. No annual tables have been updated this month. The next set of updates to annual tables will be in July 2015.
The HPI weights summary (83.5 Kb Excel sheet) reference table provides a summary of the aggregated mix-adjustment weights used in the production of the HPI for the period 2007 to 2015. The mix-adjustment weights are updated in the February HPI each year. This month, the table has been updated with historical data for 2007 to 2010.Back to table of contents
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