London leads again
Another year in UK property markets is drawing to a close, as Rightmove releases its final house price index for the calendar year.
Typically prices show a sharp seasonal decline in the final month of the year, but this was not so much in evidence this year as the index recorded its smallest decline since all the way back 2006 at just -1.1 per cent.
As a result year-on-year asking prices nationally accelerated to +7.4 per cent.
Over the dozen years since December 2003 asking prices in London have increased by +138.4 per cent, as compared to +69.2 per cent for prices nationally (which, of course, themselves have been skewed higher by London and the South East).
Yet again the strongest gains in 2015 were seen in London (+9.9 per cent) and the South East (+9.2 per cent), with the East of England (+9.2 per cent) also recording strong annual gains.
Mass migration into London and the south east and a housinh shortage continues to see house price gains focussed very heavily on that part of the country.
There have been a whole raft of taxation and stamp duty measures taken to cool the Buy to Let sector, some of which will actually pull forward demand ahead of new tax year.
However, with stock on market still under-clubbing demand, it is little surprise that Rightmove forecasts further strong gains in 2016, with new seller asking prices nationally expected to rise by +6 per cent.
Dr. Alasdair Rae of the University of Sheffield predicts that in 2016 London house prices will see urban professionals relocating to places like Scotland, Wales, or the north of England.
As a born and bred Sheffielder, I would love to believe this, but migration follows employment and investment, which remains far too centred upon the capital. I expect more of the same in 2016, wuth gains increasingly focussed on lower priced boroughs in response to policy shifts.