UK average house prices increased by 1.3% in the year to January 2020. This was down from 1.7% in December 2019.

Data from the ONS revealed a slowing in house prices even before the spread of coronavirus in the UK.

UK land registry showed the UK average house price was £231,000 in January 2020.

There was a clear divide in house price performances with Humber and the West Midlands showing strength with growth of 3.1% and 2.6% respectively.

The South and East were again the areas in England with the weakest house prices, down 0.5% and 0.6%.

Director of Benham and Reeves, Marc von Grundherr, commented:

“On the face of it, there is certainly no need to panic with prices continuing to climb annually. However, while monthly price movement isn’t a great indicator of long-term market health, you’d be forgiven for anticipating the worst with property values already dropping in January, particularly given the fact we know what is to come as a result of the spread of Coronavirus. 

It’s certain we are going to see a notable reduction in market activity and while many in the industry are adapting to the changing landscape through the use of technology, the Brexit market bounce expected this year will have to wait as it gives way to a Coronavirus crippling. 

The positive news is that unlike Brexit or the previous financial crisis, buyer and seller sentiment remains, they are just unable to transact as normal. So with both demand and supply reducing instead of just demand, prices aren’t going to take the same sort of hit. What it does mean, is that the housing market spring continues to coil once again, waiting for the day we can resume normality and for the floodgates of market activity to reopen.”