At the end of a year of upheaval and uncertainty, the market proved its resolution in December. Growth of 0.4% pushed the average price of a house in England and Wales up £1,139 to finish the year at £297,678. Prices have now almost fully recovered from the peak they reached in March 2016 ahead of the 3% surcharge on stamp duty on second homes and buy-to-let properties which was introduced in April. Strong performance in cheaper properties across the country saw every region in England and Wales finish the year with positive house price inflation. December saw some of the strongest monthly growth since the beginning of the year, however, annual growth slowed slightly to 3.1% in December from 3.5% in November. The modest gain in average prices over the year also disguises both the volatility immediately before and after the introduction of the changes in stamp duty, and a massive variation in regional performance. Annual price growth has been as high as 16.2% in Hull while falls have been as deep as -11.5% in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. The slowdown in transactions has been more consistent across the country, however. Since a strong start to the year, and a surge in March, sales have been lower each month than in either 2014 or 2015. Overall in 2016, they were down 3.9% on 2015 and for the last six months of the year fell 14.7% compared to 2015.
(source LSL house price index December 2016)