Wealthy Wales


Despite the looming, yet uncertain prospect of Brexit affecting the UK property market, Wales seems to be flourishing. It may be time for UK focussed investors to turn to Cymru.

House prices in reached an all-time peak in December 2018, taking the average price across the country to £186,699, the latest quarterly index shows.

The new peak is some £2,000 higher than the previous highest average in September 2018, according to the figures from the Principality Building Society covering the fourth quarter of the year.

A breakdown of the data shows that price growth in the fourth quarter slowed down to just 0.3% compared with the previous quarter at 3.6%, however the number of house sales in 2018 compared to 2017 remain broadly the same at just over 48,000.

Three areas achieved new record average prices in December 2018 with Monmouthshire at £290,437, Newport at £199,046 and Caerphilly at £155,672.

Six local authority areas had annual price increases of 6% or higher, up 8.7% in Torfaen, up 7.5% in Caerphilly, up 7.2% in Blaenau Gwent, up 6.5% in Newport, up 6.1% in Monmouthshire and up 6% in the Vale of Glamorgan.

With the exception of the Vale of Glamorgan, these areas are all located in the South East corner of Wales, indicating that these local authorities are still reaping the benefits of the removal of the Severn Bridge tolls with an increase in commuting to Bristol, where the average house price is £325,000.

Three local authority areas have seen average house prices fall over the last year are Pembrokeshire down 1.4%, Denbighshire down 1.9% and Neath Port Talbot down 2.4%.

‘There are a number of possible reasons why Welsh house prices are at an all-time high. Interest rates are currently close to their historic low, the number of people in work is near an all-time high while average weekly earnings have risen above the rate of inflation. Welsh Government housing schemes have also helped would-be property owners onto, and up, the housing ladder,’ said Tom Denman, chief financial officer at the Principality Building Society.

‘We know from a recent survey we did that a quarter of people in Wales admit Brexit is affecting whether they buy or sell a home. Brexit has undoubtedly affected the market but so far hasn’t dampened the market in Wales as much as England, with the number of property sales estimated to be on a par with last year. Affordability of homes in the country compared to areas of south-west England is likely to have helped growth, along with supply and demand,’ he added.

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