Growth in northern house price is met with MP criticism

House Prices in the north of England are out-pacing those in London according to recent figures - but there are concerns over whether people in Yorkshire cities will be able to afford them.

Sale prices are adding to the woes of northern house-hunters.

The latest Hometrack UK Cities House Price Index reveals house price growth across the 20 cities covered by the Index ranges from 7.1 per cent to minus 5.7 per cent year on year.

It is in stark contrast to statistics covering the capital where prices are now falling in 43 per cent of London’s local authority areas by as much as minus 3.2 per cent.

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In Sheffield there has been a 5.2 per cent rate of growth in the last 12 months and the average house price stands at £136,600.

It means that to buy a house in the South Yorkshire city it would cost the purchaser 28 per cent of what it would to buy in London.

Leeds has also seen prosperity on the property market with the average house price rising by 4.4 per cent to £162,900 and that would be the equivalent to 33 per cent of a London home.

The relative pricing of housing in London compared to other UK cities reflects variations in the timing and levels of economic growth, incomes, job creation, available supply and the net flow of investment into housing, say the housing market analysts.

It has been met with concern from regional MPs who refer to rising levels of homelessness, shortages in affordable housing and lower wages in the north.

Gill Furniss, MP for Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough, said: “This is disappointing news for first time buyers, especially younger people, who are struggling to get on the housing ladder. “The stagnating wages and increased living costs are making it increasingly difficult to get on the property ladder which is a dream for so many people in our communities. Unfortunately, the Government is overseeing a failing housing strategy where growing demand is met by – as official figures today reveal - a fall in new houses being built.”

Fabian Hamilton for Leeds North East said the north was in the “most significant housing crisis” since the financial crash.

He added: “The North continues to be underfunded in housing and transport, while the capital is constantly put first. This Government has left Yorkshire behind. By failing to properly fund local authorities and build the social housing this county so desperately needs, it is no wonder that homelessness levels are unprecedented and first-time buyers are being put off.”

The two cities with the most rapid rate of house price growth were Edinburgh (7.1 per cent) and Manchester (7.0 per cent) while London has slowed to a nine-year low of 0.4 per cent.

Hometrack predict that the gap in prices between London and other UK cities will close further over the next 12 to 24 months even though the average house price is £491,200 and significantly higher than its nearest counterpart which is Edinburgh at £225,300.

Richard Donnell, Insight Director at Hometrack says: “We expect house prices to keep rising across regional cities over the next two to three years. During this time house price growth in London will remain flat. As a result, the gap between house prices in cities outside of the South East and house prices in London will continue to contract.

“Naturally, the relative price gap between cities fluctuates over the course of the housing cycle as supply and demand is affected by factors such as economic growth, job creation, wage increases and the flow of new investment.”