Average price in December was £215,282, with London weakest performer, says Nationwide
House prices ended 2019 1.4% higher than at the start of the year, according to Nationwide building society.
Across the UK, the average house price in December was £215,282, marking a 1.4% annual increase and the first time it has been above 1% for 12 months. Property values edged up by 0.1% month on month.
Economists said the figures indicated the housing market was gaining strength.
Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said: “Indicators of UK economic activity were fairly volatile for much of 2019 but the underlying pace of growth appeared to slow through the year as a result of weaker global growth and an intensification of Brexit uncertainty.”
Scotland was the strongest performer, with prices up by 2.8% in the fourth quarter of 2019, compared with a year earlier. It was the first time since 2008 that Scotland ended the year as the top performer, Nationwide said.
London was the weakest performer, with an annual house price decline of 1.8% in the fourth quarter. Gardner continued: “Looking ahead, economic developments will remain the key driver of housing market trends and house prices.
“Much will continue to depend on how quickly uncertainty about the UK’s future trading relationships lifts as well as the outlook for global growth. Overall, we expect the economy to continue to expand at a modest pace in 2020, with house prices remaining broadly flat over the next 12 months.”
Looking at the challenge buyers face in raising a deposit to get on the property ladder, Gardner said: “Even in the north and Scotland, where property appears most affordable, it would still take someone earning the average wage and saving 15% of their take-home pay each month more than five years to save a 20% deposit.
“In Wales and Northern Ireland it would take prospective buyers nearly seven years and almost eight years for people living in the West Midlands. Reflecting the trend in overall house prices, the deposit challenge is most daunting in the south of England, where it would take an average earner almost a decade to amass a 20% deposit.
“Again, the pressures are most acute in the capital, where someone earning an average income would need around 15 years to save a 20% deposit on the typical London property.”