The latest figures from the Nationwide show house prices rose by 0.2% last month but fell by 1.1% over the past year.
According to the UK’s largest building society the average home is now worth £162,638, almost identical to the figures produced by the Land Registry and the Halifax.
London propping up the housing market
The Nationwide’s figures reveal that 11 out of the 13 regions saw house price falls over the past 12 months, with only London and the South-West showing increases.
Reacting to the figures, Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s Chief Economist, said: “Average UK house prices rose by 0.5% in the final quarter of 2012, after allowing for seasonal effects. Prices were down 1.1% over the year as a whole.”
Gardner continued: “Amongst the English regions, London was again the best performing area, with prices up 0.7% compared with Q4 2012. The South West was the only other region to record price growth over the year, with the rest seeing small declines.”
“Within England, the North/South divide in property prices continued to widen, with the price of a typical home in the South now around £95,000 more than in the North, a new high and around 2% more than at the close of 2011.”
Whilst many homeowners will be pleased that house prices in the capital are rising, those people wanting to move house, or indeed get on the housing ladder for the first time, will be less happy. Interestingly, the Nationwide also revealed the extra cost of buying a home in the capital, close to a tube or train station. The research shows that a home within 500 metres of a train or tube station costs, on average, an extra £26,000 compared to a property 1,500 metres away.
The Nationwide also discovered that properties closest to stations on the Circle Line are the most expensive, with those near to the Central Line the cheapest.
Robert Gardner again: “As the London Underground celebrates its 150th anniversary, Nationwide has found that living close to a tube or railway station can demand a hefty premium on the price of a house (after taking account of other property characteristics, such as property type, size and local neighbourhood type).”
“A property located 500m from a station attracts a 9% price premium (approximately £26,000 on a typical London home) over an otherwise identical property 1,500m from a station. This price premium is two percentage points higher than when we conducted similar research in 2010, where the data suggested a 7% premium.”