2016 will be a critical year for the property market as we see the impact of the global economic slowdown and UK government moves to curb house price growth.
Kate Faulkner, founder of property information portal Designs on Property, has warned of a continuing North-South divide, with prices in the Midlands and North failing to recover from the financial crisis.
Faulkner said: "This year, homeowners and investors will find out how much the government can curb price growth and whether the well-known, historic, ‘ripple’ effect of price increases we have seen already in the London boroughs will happen across the rest of the UK."
Regional UK figures show that although some areas of the South and East have enjoyed a tremendous recovery in the last few years, this doesn’t stretch to the Midlands and beyond.
“Areas like Reading have seen double digit increases and this has spread as far up as Oxford and out to Bristol, but not as far as Warwick, Swindon and Exeter,” Faulkner said.
Faulkner said that many towns further north will have to wait another five or more years at current growth rates to hit pre-credit crunch heights.
“This means the property recession in these areas will last nearly 13 years unless price growth picks up faster.
In 2015, England and its core cities continued to do well, the picture is mixed.
"Only three out of the regions actually recovered from the credit crunch - the East, South East and London - while everywhere else is still in the doldrums.”
Faulkner sees signs of a property price bubble blowing in city centre flats in towns such as Nottingham, Manchester, Sunderland and Leeds.
“Prices in some of these areas, such as the North East region, are still down 23% versus pre-credit crunch heights.
“With current growth of 1.3% per year, if this trend doesn’t pick up, it suggests it could take more than 17 years for prices to recover to their previous heights.
“In the meantime, city centre flats worth half their pre-credit crunch value may never see a recovery.”