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House prices, as measured by the UK House Price Index, decreased by 1.4% between December 2022 and December 2023. On a seasonally adjusted basis, average house prices increased by 0.3% between November 2023 and December 2023.

House prices changed at different rates across the UK’s countries and regions over the year to December. House prices grew fastest in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the North West. However, Northern Ireland’s house prices are measured over a different period (the year to quarter 4 of 2023). House prices fell in all other regions but fell fastest in London, South East and the East of England.

UK house price index

Bank of England data on the number of mortgages approved to finance house purchases are a leading indicator of house sales.

Mortgage approvals for house purchases reached a lockdown-related record low in May 2020. Approvals then increased significantly towards the end of 2020 but have fallen since. 

Mortgage approvals for house purchases in January 2024 were up 40% on a year ago and were up 7% on December 2023.

There were 55,227 mortgage approvals in January 2024, compared with 39,382 in January 2023.

UK mortgage approvals

Housing starts and completions fell sharply in Q2 2020 reflecting the coronavirus lockdown. They are now higher.

There were 21,300 house building starts (seasonally adjusted) in England in Q3 2023. This is unusually low and is likely to be caused by house builders choosing to bring forward the start of projects to avoid the costs of complying with new building regulatory standards, which caused a peak in Q2 2023 of 66,700 starts. The new standards, which relate to energy performance and electric vehicle charging point, were introduced from 15 June 2023.

There were 39,990 house building completions (seasonally adjusted) in England in Q3 2023, a 1% increase compared with the previous quarter, but a 5% decrease compared with the same quarter of 2022.

House starts and completions


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