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London house prices fell 0.7% over the past 12 months, while the rest of the country saw house prices increase by around 5%.

According to the Office of National Statistics, which just published the March update of its House Price Index, London hasn’t seen a year-over-year fall like this since September 2009.

Overall, house prices fell 0.2% in March – but, looking at the past 12 months, UK house prices are up 4.2%. The average UK property is now priced at £224,000.

While London’s housing market remains depressed, the story is very different elsewhere in the country. In Scotland house prices surged 6.7% in the last 12 months, while the East of England saw an increase of 5.8%. Most of the country has seen annual growth of around 4 to 5%, except the North East (2.5%) and London (-0.7%).

In terms of total property sales, the Land Registry saw 50,583 completions in January – a dramatic 12% fall compared to January last year. Back in January 2018, that figure was almost 80,000. There are myriad causes for the housing downturn, not least of all Brexit uncertainty, stamp duty hikes, real wage stagnation, and an extra charge for people buying a second home.

On the flip side, with lowering house prices and with the base rate staying at 0.5% – and thus mortgage interest rates staying very low – it may be a good time for first-time buyers to get on the property ladder. The Bank of England continues to maintain that the UK economy will pick up this year – and if that prediction is accurate, it will increase the base interest rate.

Now read about how to save up a mortgage deposit