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Rise in Welsh house prices is not all it seems

A rise in house prices in Wales could be a sign that few people here can afford to move, and not reflect a booming property market, according to the collators of the House Price Index, Rightmove.

Asking prices increased by 0.9% in Wales over the last month, to reach an average of £170,405. Figures for the UK as a whole show a drop of 1.6% since June, although the average asking price is still significantly higher, at £236,597. The decrease comes after six consecutive months of price rises since the start of the year.

But on closer inspection, the news isn’t as good for Wales as the statistics first suggest. According to Miles Shipside, commercial director of Rightmove, around 20% fewer properties are coming onto the market as in the summer of 2010, “with few people being able to afford to move.” This means that only relatively more expensive properties are on the market, pushing the average up. “It would be wrong to say that this is a booming market in Wales,” he said. “It’s actually a symptom of less properties coming on the market. People’s equity hasn’t increased in their property.”

A breakdown of asking prices within Wales shows a stand-out 3.1% monthly rise for Swansea, but short-term price falls for Cardiff and North and Mid Wales. But in comparison to July 2010, asking prices have risen by 2% or more in the capital and across South Wales.

The table below shows a comparison in asking prices for different parts of Wales.

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For Wales as a whole, asking prices have risen back to the level they were at a year ago, even to within £3 of the July 2010 average. This minimal annual increase is roughly in line with the UK as a whole.

The The Rightmove House Price Index for July 2011 shows that, across the UK as a whole, 7 out of 10 properties put up for sale so far in 2011 are still on the market.

The document below includes detailed analysis of asking price trends. Scroll to page 6 for a comparison of different regions within the UK.

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