The UK government and Office For National Statistics (ONS) has published the UK House Price Index for January 2021. And while this data arrives a couple of months after the fact, it does provide a very interesting insight into the past 12 months of ebb and flow in the housing market, showing that the North of England is finally getting its own back on the previously smug South.
The headline figure is that, between January 2020 and January 2021, house prices across the nation grew by 7.5%, creating an average property value of £266,532 in England, and £249,309 in the UK as a whole.
While house prices went up across the entire UK, nowhere did they rise more than in the Northern Powerhouse. The North West of England, a region which includes Manchester and Liverpool, enjoyed the most significant price growth of 12% in 12 months.
Yorkshire & the Humber, which includes Sheffield, Leeds, and York, saw the second-highest growth at 8.9%, and the North East, including Newcastle, Durham, and Middlesbrough, came third with 8.5% growth.
At the other end of the spectrum, the West Midlands (4.7%) and London (5.3%) have seen the least growth. When considering why this might be, one must acknowledge that a large number of people have rejected big city living after a year of being locked indoors.
The Northern Powerhouse is steaming ahead
London, with its notoriously small and expensive properties and lack of private outdoor space, is no longer the flavour of the month. The West Midlands, based largely around the city of Birmingham, is suffering a similar fate.
And while the likes of London and Birmingham won’t stay down for long, they have certainly lost out to the more affordable homes of the Northern cities and the stunning countryside which surrounds them.
Furthermore, the three regions of highest growth, North East, North West, and Yorkshire, remain the three most affordable regions of the country despite seeing the greatest hike in property prices.
In the North West, the average home will cost you £184,234. In Yorkshire & the Humber, it costs £179,248, and in the North East, the average price is £138,151. As buyers search for more space, both inside and outside, and value for money, these three regions cannot be matched, especially given the ease of access they provide to some of the UK’s biggest and busiest cities.
Our in-house property expert, Russell Quirk, said:
“The North is, at last, getting its own back on the previously smug South. This move is, of course, a reflection of homebuyers’ want for more space and more value for money, but it’s also a sign that the Northern Powerhouse initiative is working well.
“London and the southern regions of England have long enjoyed the fruits of plentiful jobs and oodles of personal wealth. But today, as more and more of the UK’s media, politics and technology are migrating north, London is starting to feel almost passée; the old-fashioned, stuffy incumbent to the North’s energetic newcomer.
“And for as long as house prices are so much cheaper in the North than the South, this migration is going to keep picking up pace. Why would you leave London for Bristol when you can go to Manchester or Liverpool instead and get a property double the size for almost half of the money? Especially now that fixed-hours, office-based working is fading into history…
“Roger Bannister, the first man to break the 4-minute mile, once described the North of England as “rugged” and “hard-working”, a place where “there was not the expectation of luxury”. For a long time, this was considered a bad thing, but perhaps in the post-COVID era, such qualities are once again desirable.”