First-time house buyers in Fife take £18,000 hit

House prices fell by 1.6% month-on-month in March
House prices fell by 1.6% month-on-month in March

House prices in Fife decreased by 1.5 per cent in February – despite witnessing a one per cent rise over the last 12 months.

It comes as annual price growth across the UK fell to its lowest level in six years.

The latest data from the Office of National Statistics shows that the average property in the area sold for £132,269 – significantly lower than the UK average of £226,234.

Across Scotland, property prices have fallen by 0.2 per cent in the last year, to £145,762. The region underperformed compared to the UK as a whole, which saw the average property value increase by 0.6 per cent.

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The data comes from the House Price Index, which the ONS compiles using house sale information from the Land Registry, and the equivalent bodies in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The average homeowner in Fife will have seen their property jump in value by around £22,000 in the last five years.

The figures also showed that buyers who made their first step onto the property ladder in Fife in February spent an average of £106,967 – around £18,000 more than it would have cost them five years ago.

Residential research analyst at estate agent Savills, Lawrence Bowles, said: “UK house price growth took a further hit last month, with just 0.6% growth in the year to February 2019. That’s down from annual growth of 1.7 per cent last month and 4.4 per cent growth this time last year.

“However, average house prices are still 46 per cent higher than they were 10 years ago.

“This marks the second month of house prices falling in inflation-adjusted terms. CPI was 1.9 per cent in the year to February 2019, which means that house prices are 1.3 per cent lower than last year in real terms.

“Northern Ireland, Wales, and the North West showed the strongest regional performance – affordability in these regions is less constrained than in higher value markets, so there’s more room for value growth.

“We’re forecasting the North West will show the strongest house price growth over the next five years.”

Between January and December last year, the most recent 12 months for which sales volume data is available, 6,845 homes were sold in Fife, one per cent fewer than in the previous year.

The highest house prices in the country in February were found in London’s Kensington and Chelsea, where properties sold for an average of £1.33 million – 16 times the cost of a home in Burnley, where the average property cost just £83,000.