House prices across the UK increased at their lowest annual rate in around seven years in July, according to official figures.

Four regions in England – the South East, London, the East and the North East – saw property values fall over the 12 months to July.

The average UK house price was was £233,000 in July – a 0.7% year-on-year increase.

This is the lowest annual rate since September 2012, when it was 0.4%, according to the report released jointly by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Land Registry and other bodies.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

Over the past three years, there has been a general slowdown in UK house price growth, driven mainly by a slowdown in the South and East of England, the report said.

House prices across southern England – combining London, the East of England, the South East and the South West – fell by 0.9% in the year to July.

This contrasts with 1.8% growth in the Midlands and a 1.7% increase in northern England – made up of the North East, North West, and Yorkshire and the Humber combined.

Head of inflation at ONS Mike Hardie said: “Annual growth in house prices slowed to its lowest rate since September 2012, with four of the nine English regions now seeing prices falling over the year.”

Within England, house prices fell annually by 2.9% in the North East, by 2% in the South East, by 1.4% in London and by 0.5% in the East.

Yorkshire and the Humber was the English region with the highest annual house price growth, with prices increasing by 3.2% in the year to July.

Looking across the UK’s nations, average house prices increased annually by 4.2% in Wales to £165,000, by 1.4% in Scotland to £154,000, by 0.3% in England to £249,000 and by 3.5% in Northern Ireland to £137,000.

Howard Archer, chief economic adviser at EY ITEM Club said some reports have pointed to a more recent pick-up in housing market activity – which could be partly influenced by people wanting “get their move sorted before Brexit”.

He said: “Improved consumer purchasing power and decent employment growth have also been supportive to the housing market, as have low interest rates.”

But he continued: “With the economy largely struggling and the outlook highly uncertain, we suspect that house prices will remain soft despite the recent pick-up in housing market activity – which could well prove temporary.

“Consequently, we expect house prices to only rise around 1.0% on most measures over 2019.”

Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent and a former chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics), said London is “starting slowly to regain some of its attraction as buyers and sellers look beyond Brexit”.

Lucy Pendleton, founder director of estate agents James Pendleton, said: “Some realism has now entered the wider market which we hope will buoy transaction levels in the coming months.”