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Demand from buyers soars 26% across UK Cities as house price growth reaches two year high

29th January 2020

  • House price inflation across UK Cities running at 3.9%; the highest rate recorded since September 2017

  • Every UK City in England and Scotland registered a welcome bounce in buyer demand in the first weeks of 2020 

  • Northern cities recorded the strongest increase in demand from buyers so far this year with demand rising 20% higher than the average 

  • New analysis reveals Nottingham has the best prospects for house price growth in 2020 

 

The December Zoopla UK Cities House Price Index has revealed that house price growth across UK Cities has hit a two year high of +3.9% (see table 1). The increase in house price inflation follows flat to falling house prices in the latter parts of 2018 and has been bolstered by a surge in buyer demand, with HMRC data highlighting sales transactions in December 2019 were up 11% compared to December 2018. 

 

Surge in buyer demand across UK Cities 

Traditionally, buyers return to the housing market in the first weeks of the New Year and 2020 has proved no different. Zoopla’s analysis found buyer demand in the first weeks of 2020 (23rd December 2019 – 19th January 2020) was +26% higher than the same four-week period in 2019 and 2018. With the exception of Belfast, every UK City recorded an increase in demand from buyers over this time. 

 

Cities in the Midlands and north of England have recorded the strongest interest from buyers so far this year, with Sheffield, Leeds and Leicester recording above-average increases in buyer interest, at up to 20% higher than the average (see figure 1).  

 

Commenting on the latest Zoopla UK Cities House Price Index, Richard Donnell, Research and Insight Director at Zoopla, said: “Whilst the first few weeks of the year always see a return of home buyers to the housing market, demand for housing at the start of 2020 is 26% higher than over the last two years. This is partially due to fading political uncertainty; households who were holding off moving are now starting to return to the market and this momentum has been supported by low mortgage rates. The cities with more affordable house prices, such as Sheffield and Leeds, have seen the greatest increase in buyer demand as house hunters continue to focus on value for money this year.”



Fastest growing cities of 2020 revealed 

Zoopla’s latest report also presents a comprehensive analysis of the UK Cities with the strongest market fundamentals going into 2020 (see table 1). Using a range of metrics - including housing affordability, the position of each city in the current housing cycle, discounts to asking price and time to sell – Zoopla has ranked cities with the best prospects for house price inflation in the year ahead. Cities outside the south of England topped the rankings thanks, largely, to attractive affordability.  

 

Nottingham, where house price inflation is currently running at +5.2%, is ranked as the strongest prospect for house price growth this year. Edinburgh and Glasgow are ranked second and third respectively. House prices are currently sitting at an average of £242,200 in the Scottish capital and the rate of price growth in the 12 months to December 2019 was recorded at an impressive 6.1% here.

 

Cities in the south of England, such as Southampton, Oxford and London are expected to see house price growth underperform the average this year. This is predominantly due to affordability constraints in these areas following strong house price growth between 2010 and 2016. Whilst London ranks 16th in the Zoopla analysis, sales volumes are expected to rise faster than prices as buyer confidence improves, boosting sales rather than price levels.  

 

Richard Donnell, Research and Insight Director at Zoopla, continues: “Regional cities continue to lead the way for house price inflation this year thanks to continued economic growth and more attractive affordability of housing. The best prospects for house price growth in 2020 are in Nottingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester. In contrast, we expect cities in southern England to register below average price growth as affordability levels realign to what buyers can afford. Overall, we are expecting house prices to grow on average by +3% across all UK Cities in 2020.” 

 

Table 1 – City level summary, December 2019, including 2020 growth ranking 

City

Current price

%yoy

2020 growth ranking

Nottingham 

£159,600

5.2%

1

Edinburgh 

£242,200

6.1%

2

Glasgow 

£124,600

3.4%

3

Manchester 

£173,700

4.5%

4

Birmingham 

£167,500

3.9%

5

Leicester 

£181,000

4.7%

6

Leeds 

£169,100

3.6%

7

Liverpool 

£122,600

4.1%

8

Bristol 

£285,300

3.2%

9

Sheffield 

£139,800

3.1%

10

Cardiff 

£210,800

2.8%

11

Cambridge 

£410,300

1.6%

12

Portsmouth 

£240,500

1.9%

13

Bournemouth 

£291,200

3.%

14

Southampton 

£226,500

0.6%

15

London 

£480,800

1.9%

16

Newcastle 

£128,500

1.5%

17

Belfast 

£138,500

3.7%

18

Oxford 

£413,600

-0.1%

19

Aberdeen 

£155,700

-3.1%

20

UK City Index 

£257,600

3.9%

N/A

Source: Zoopla House Price Index, powered by Hometrack

 

-ENDS-



Figure 1. Demand bounce compared to +26% average 

A screenshot of a cell phone

Description automatically generated

 

Source: Zoopla UK City House Price Index, powered by Hometrack

 

 

- Ends -

For further information, please contact PR Team on pr@zoopla.co.uk or +44 (0)20 3873 8770.

About Zoopla’s UK Cities House Price Index
Zoopla’s House Price Indices are based on the largest underlying data sample of any UK house price index. The 20 cities covered by the index contain 35% of the UK housing stock by volume and 43% of capital value. Our index FAQ’s have all the information about our indices and how they are run. Data for the index is powered by Hometrack, a part of Zoopla. Hometrack is a leading provider of automated property valuations and statistical property market insights in the UK to over 400 partners including mortgage lenders, developers, investors, government agencies, housing associations and others. 

www.hometrack.com.

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