December 30, 2015
Winners and losers highlighted as Londoners leave
The London borough of Newham enjoyed the biggest rise in house prices across the UK in 2015, according to the Halifax. The average house price there rose 22.2% over the year compared with 2014. Homes in Newham are now worth an average £319,522 against £261,399 previously. Wales fared far worse, with Merthyr Tydfil and Colwyn Bay topping the list of worst performing areas for 2015. A surprise inclusion in the worst performers was Kensington and Chelsea, the borough that includes the UK's most expensive and exclusive areas. Prices there rose just 1% to an average £807,407. Stamp duty changes introduced in the 2014 Autumn Statement meant buyers at the top end of the market paid more tax, sending buyers outside London for more affordable homes. Of the top 10 biggest average house price gainers in 2015, five were in the South East, with Royston in Hertfordshire the second-best area, rising 19.1% to £357,049. This contrasts with 2014, when Greater London dominated the best performers. "Those areas that have seen the biggest house price increases over the past year are either in outer London or within close commuting distance of the capital. Demand in these areas has risen as rapid house price rises in central London in the past few years have caused increasing numbers of people to look for property in more affordable areas,” Martin Ellis, housing economist at the Halifax, explains. The trend for leaving London is backed up by new data from Hamptons International. It found that Londoners sold up and moved to other parts of the UK in 2015 in the largest numbers for eight years. Last year London’s residents bought 63,000 homes outside the capital, an increase of two-thirds on 2014, spending a total of £24bn.