The average house price in Wales rose by £6,110 annually to £193,286, before the coronavirus crisis began in the UK.
The figures have been released from Principality Building Society’s Wales House Price Index for Q1 (Jan-Feb) 2020, which demonstrates the rise and fall in house prices in each of the 22 local authorities in Wales.
The new average house price for Wales represents a 3.3% rise compared to the same period 12 months ago.
Principality’s report shows that before the coronavirus crisis started, the improving economic situation, with continuing historically low interest rates and high employment rates, had contributed to creating a robust housing market. Low cost ‘affordable’ housing in proximity to areas of relatively high employment was another factor, with Wales seeing the highest increase in the number of first-time buyers of all the regional areas in the UK in Q1 of 2020.
Tom Denman, Chief Financial Officer at Principality Building Society said: “Although they feel largely irrelevant now, the figures give us a snapshot of the economy and housing market before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the opening months of 2020, before the pandemic struck the UK, the housing market had been steadily gathering momentum. It is evident that price growth was edging up in Wales thanks to a bounce in confidence following the general election, high employment rates, plus low interest rates but transactions were down year on year.
“In the short term it is difficult to say what will happen as there will be a limited number of sales, if any. Most sellers and buyers will remain in homes and closure of estate agencies given the social distancing restrictions will reduce housing transactions. The mortgage market is in partial lockdown, and it is hoped the government’s economic package to soften the blow of the pandemic crisis will allow the housing market to come out the other side and operate as normal once the crisis has lifted.”
In February, there were 16 local authority areas in Wales with a positive movement in house price growth annually, with six areas (Blaenau Gwent, Ceredigion, Conwy, Gwynedd, Newport and Wrexham) seeing prices fall.
Bridgend saw the highest annual price increase at 9.1% (£15,109) to £181,494. The area saw an increase in the price of detached homes being sold, rising from approximately £230,000 in February 2019 to £250,000 one year later. Within Bridgend, seaside town Porthcawl has proved to be particularly popular, with detached homes typically selling here for £350,000 – £400,000.
Four local authority areas have established new peak prices – Caerphilly (£158,655), Cardiff (£245,497), Flintshire (£199,109) and Monmouthshire (£304,586). Two of these areas, Cardiff and Monmouthshire, are in the top three areas in Wales by house price value – suggesting that the establishment of their new record prices has been assisted by the upswing in consumer confidence following the general election.