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The North/South divide is closing when it comes to property prices

Patrick Christys
Apr 22, 2019

The North/South divide is shifting when it comes to property - gone are the days of anything north of the Watford Gap being considered some kind of prehistoric hinterland, it's becoming more lucrative by the day.

Ten years ago there was a clear split - there was Dorset, Hampshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, West Sussex, Surrey, London, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Rutland...and then everything else. 

And if you wanted to make money out of your property, you'd buy in one of the above places before selling it on for a huge profit five years later.

But the Midland and Wales are coming to the party, new research shows.

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A study from automated property management specialists Howsy, which looked at the average house price across each county and chartered the physical property divide line based on the house price threshold of £200,000, shows the Midlands and Wales are really catching up.

There are also now three regions in Scotland; Edinburgh, East Renfrewshire and East Dunbartonshire, where prices are, on average, above £200,000, as well as North Yorkshire.

‘Not only does it show the evolution of the UK housing market but highlights the pressure being put on the UK rental market as a result, with more and more being priced out of home ownership by unaffordability and remaining reliant on the letting sector,’ said Calum Brannan, Chief Executive officer of Howsy.

‘There’s a very real chance we will continue to see this pocket stretch even further North and we predict that demand on the UK rental sector will only grow,’ he added.

See, it's not all gravy and whippets up North, no, there's money to be had when it comes to property as well!

But the number of homes ‘earning’ more than their owners has fallen in the UK as price growth continues to slow, according to new research.

Just 8% of local areas have seen average house prices increase by more than total average pay over the last two years with the biggest earner being Richmond-upon-Thames where owners got £55,483 more from their home than at work over two years at £2,312 per month.

The average rise in house prices over the last two years has outstripped post-tax earnings in fewer 8% of local authority districts. This compares to 18% in 2017 and 31% in 2016.

‘While the slowdown in house price growth may not be welcomed by homeowners, the narrowing gap between prices and wages should improve mortgage affordability for all, meaning that larger house, home extension or even first property are all more attainable,’ said Russell Galley, managing director of the Halifax.

‘Although every region of the UK saw earnings exceed price growth overall, there continue to be significant variations across the country. The majority of areas where house price inflation outpaced owners’ take-home pay are still to be found in London and the South East,’ he added.

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