According to house price data from the Land Registry, average annual house prices increased by 2.2% in December, a small jump from the 1.7% figure recorded in November.

Interestingly the growth was driven by increases in every region in the UK, rather than a few regions outstripping the rest. This rise, the first for two years, has been attributed to the Conservative party’s election victory and a more optimistic economic outlook calming the nerves of buyers.

The rise might be small, but December was the first month since February 2018 that prices increased in all regions, across England, Wales and Scotland, as the average UK house price hit £235,000 - £5,000 higher than in December 2018.

Bricks and mortar investment

Once again the UK property market is demonstrating its resilience in the face of many different challenges, both political and economic, as it returns positive annual growth for the first time in nearly two years.

While London prices rose 2.3% year on year in December and have surged so far this year, the capital faces more uncertainty following the two per cent stamp duty surcharge for overseas buyers of UK property included in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s first Budget.

This new measure, designed to deter foreign property investors, is expected to impact the higher-priced parts of London more than the rest of England and Wales, whilst eventually raising around £105m a year which the government will use to help first-time buyers.

However, 2019 was the strongest year since 2014 for the prime London markets and so far this year, almost every single borough reported rises. As always we wait to see if the resurgent London market causes ripples to spread throughout the rest of the UK.

It was London the government probably had in mind when it announced that it intends to allow the owners of housing blocks to build additional storeys on their properties without planning permission.

But for now, Signature will continue to lend across the country and not single London out for special treatment as it appears to be fairing pretty well, even in the face of the latest coronavirus-induced challenges.

Property hotspots for the coming year

Yorkshire and the Humber region registered the highest annual house price growth, increasing by 3.9% in the year to December, with the East Midlands at 2.8% increase following closely. Surprisingly, one of the lowest annual growths was the West Midlands, with only a 1.4% increase.

Our experience across Signature currently shows Glasgow and its surrounding environs a hotspot for deal enquiries, along with the North West of England as a whole.

The news form the West Midlands is surprising given that many believe Dudley could be set to become one of the UK’s property hotspots.

The Council is offering immediate opportunities totalling nearly £250 million, including the £82 million ‘Portersfield’ mixed-use retail, leisure and residential development of 400 apartments - including student accommodation, along with shops, restaurants, bars and offices.

The council is also backing the £100 million revitalisation programme of Brierley Hill, designed to provide up to 800 new residential units and 14.7 hectares of improved brownfield land.

It’s a region close to our heart and to our Birmingham headquarters. It also vindicates our boots-on-the-ground strategy that puts our relationship managers in the regions likely to experience the highest deal flows.

Their ability to leverage their local knowledge and take deals from enquiry, through the entire loan process to drawdown and beyond, ensures we help our clients get their deals done. Time to get a signature on your next deal?