1. Economics
October 14, 2015

Where in Britain are house prices still below their previous peak? There's a map for that

By Jonn Elledge

I don’t know if you’ve noticed – I keep it pretty quiet – but I’m a bit obsessed with Britain’s housing crisis. It’s sort of my thing.

So it’s useful to be reminded once in a while, here in my quinoa-stuffed north London bubble, that it’s actually a bit misleading to talk about the housing crisis: in different places, the term can mean different things.

Check out this map of England, Scotland and Wales, courtesy of Johnny Morris, the research director at property services group Countrywide:

Image: Johnny Morris/Countrywide.

It shows that, when it comes to house prices, the country is split pretty evenly in two. In the blue areas, house prices are now ahead even of where they were at the height of the last boom in 2007. That includes most of the south east, a large chunk of the Midlands; Bristol, Wiltshire, southern East Anglia; the Highlands, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Fife; the area around York, and a small sliver of Manchester. Phew.

The purple area is where prices have yet to return to their previous peak. That includes southern and western Scotland, Moray, and parts of the Western Isles; the whole of Wales and the south west; most of the north of England, Norfolk, and half of the Midlands; plus Coventry, Southampton and the Isle of Wight.

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(It’s not obvious at a glance which of the two sides has the bigger population; I’d guess the blue, but it could go either way.)

This isn’t to say that prices in the purple areas are reasonable, exactly: 2007 was the height of a 15 year economic boom, and house prices were already considered high, then.

But in large parts of the blue areas of the country, those prices are already a long, long way behind us. In London, the average house price in 2007 peaked around the £350,000 mark. Today it’s around £525,000.

The map also suggests that, in much of the country, there will be those who bought at the height of the last boom and are still quietly praying for their house price to rise. In parts of the country, “housing crisis” doesn’t just mean “expensive homes”: even after eight years, it might mean “negative equity”, too.

Thanks to Johnny Morris for letting us reproduce his map – you should follow him on Twitter, to show your gratitude.

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