According to Nationwide 9 out of 13 regions in the UK recorded residential property price rises in 2011, with London the best-performing region (+5.4%) and Northern Ireland the worst-performing region (-8.9%).
Property prices in Scotland are down 0.8% on the year, having remained steady in the final quarter of 2011, in Wales prices ended 2011 up 1.5% despite having lost 0.9% in the final three months.
For the UK as a whole, the typical value of home stood at £164,785 in December, following a 0.3% increase during Q4 which helped produce an annual price rise of 1.1%.
However, at 5.2, the average house price to earnings ratio remains above the long-term average of around four, although down from a peak of 6.4 in 2007.
Due to continued property price falls, Northern Ireland is now the cheapest UK region in terms of average prices, and also the most affordable relative to average earnings.
The North remains the most affordable English region, while annual price growth of 5.4% has consolidated London’s position as the least affordable region, with a house price to earnings ratio of 7.4.
In 2012 the market is likely to be dominated by fears over rising unemployment, the squeeze on household incomes and the Eurozone finance crisis.
Forecasts for 2012 are for property values to remain stagnant at best.
Shortage of suitable property supply should continue to underpin the market, although Halifax recently reported that there were only 187,000 First-Time Buyers (FTB’s) in 2011 – the lowest annual total since the lenders’ records began in 1974.
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