Welsh house prices continue to fall

Prices have now declined in each of the three last months and in eight of the last 12 months.

Richard Sexton, director of e.surv, part of LSL Property Services, said: “The Welsh housing market is still caught in the clutches of restricted mortgage availability.

“Prices have fallen by almost £3,000 over the past 12 months, and £1,552 in the last two months. It’s a sharp contrast with England and particularly London, which is starting to fire at all cylinders. Buyers in Wales are struggling to get mortgage finances, which is clogging the whole property chain.”

But Sexton said things are starting to look up for the beleaguered Welsh market as the lending environment begins to improve.

He added: “Low interest rates are helping and more affordable options are surfacing that are helping boost activity from the bottom end of the market.

“But deposit requirements remain the sticking point with plenty of buyers unable to cobble together enough savings while inflation remains high and wages remain suppressed.

“Wealthier buyers and equity-rich retirees represent the largest slice of buying power: this is sustaining sales-levels, and propping up prices.”

On a regional level the highest annual increase by a wide margin was the Isle of Anglesey, at 8.0%.

Denbighshire scored an annual increase of 3.6%, Bridgend 2.8% and Powys 2.6%. All the other positive changes were less than 1.0%.

The biggest falls on an annual basis were Ceredigion at -9.0%, Pembrokeshire -6.8%, closely followed by Caerphilly at -6.7% and The Vale of Glamorgan at -6.5%.

Other falls were smaller: Conwy -5.7%, Monmouthshire -4.7%, Neath Port Talbot and Swansea -3.5%, Newport -3.4% and others around the -1.0% mark.

The north/south divide remains evident. The average annual change across the 14 southernmost Authorities is now a fall of -2.3%, whilst that across the six northernmost areas is an increase of +0.5%. The two central areas (Powys and Ceredigion) have experienced an average annual fall of -3.2%.

Sexton said: “The property market could do with a spark to boost its rate of recovery. The good news is that the Welsh government plans to up its game, having recently announced the drafting of a new Housing Bill which will focus on the quality and supply of housing, as well as homelessness and the private rented sector.

“This bodes well for the future, while the long-term effects of the Funding for Lending scheme and Help to Buy feed through into the market. Hopefully this combination will drive the Welsh property market into safe territory as the year progresses.”