UK house prices ended this year just 1.8 per cent cheaper than they had been a year earlier despite hikes in mortgage rates – but a Bolton estate agents has said house prices across the borough have risen.

Nationwide reported the average house price nationally was unchanged during December compared to the month before.

It means that average prices end the year 4.5 per cent below the all-time peak in the summer of 2022.

The average price of a home was £257,443 in December, Nationwide said.

Experts said that more positivity has started to enter the housing market in the last few months.

“Housing market activity was weak throughout 2023,” said Nationwide’s chief economist, Robert Gardner.

“The total number of transactions has been running at (about) 10 per cent below pre-pandemic levels over the past six months, with those involving a mortgage down even more (about 20 per cent), reflecting the impact of higher borrowing costs.

“On the flip side, the volume of cash transactions has continued to run above pre-Covid levels.”

The cost of borrowing has increased dramatically over the last two years, with the Bank of England’s base interest rate increasing from 0.1 per cent in December 2021 to 5.25 per cent today.

Nationwide said that house prices were down 2.9 per cent in England compared to a year ago.

However, Andrew Cardwell, managing director at Cardwells Estate Agents, said Bolton has outperformed many other areas.

He said: “During this last 12-month period the property market has been under pressure from frequently increasing, and high interest rates, high inflation levels and of course the cost-of-living crises.

“This time last year many 'experts' were predicting that the average house price in England would drop around 20 per cent in 2023, this has proven to be wildly inaccurate. 

“Despite the tough backdrop, the property market has remained resilient in the face of these challenges.

"And although Nationwide suggest that there has been a realignment in the average price nationally of 1.8 per cent, analysis by Plumplot suggests that the average price in Bolton fell by less than one percent over the last 12 months.

"This is clearly much better than the national average and shows how the Bolton property market has outperformed many other areas, not just within the North West and Greater Manchester, but England.

“Data from Rightmove shows that the average price of a residential property in Bolton is actually 14 per cent higher now than in 2020, which shows a significant upward trend in prices over a longer period of time.

“It is far from doom and gloom in the Bolton property market, and in fact during December 27 and 29 it has been notably busy at our Bolton office in comparison to previous years, with over 120 viewings arranged, five sales agreed and five rental property applications being under consideration.

“I’m confident this post Christmas buoyancy will continue into 2024 and the signals are certainly looking strong for continued market improvement in 2024. 

“The most recent published inflation figures in December 2023 show that the level of inflation for the last 12 months has fallen below the five per cent target set by Mr Sunak, to 3.9 per cent. 

“Now inflation is reducing, it is expected that there will be interest rate reductions in the new year, which will undoubtedly reenergise the property market not just in Bolton but throughout the UK.

“The Bolton property market enjoys consistently strong levels of demand and I would expect this festive buoyancy to continue into 2024.

"I would expect a continued steady growth in Bolton property prices as we progress through 2024.”

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