Are house prices going up in Hertfordshire?

House prices peaked in Welwyn Hatfield, East Herts, North Herts, Three Rivers and Hertsmere in January. 

House prices peaked in Welwyn Hatfield, East Herts, North Herts, Three Rivers and Hertsmere in January. - Credit: Archant

Property prices have reached a record high in many areas of Hertfordshire, latest Land Registry figures have confirmed. 

Welwyn Hatfield, East Herts, North Herts, Three Rivers and Hertsmere all recorded their highest sale prices ever in January. 

The biggest increase was seen in East Herts, where the average house price was up 12.9 per cent year-on-year to £461,062. 

Hertsmere saw a 10.5 per cent increase to £529,978, followed by Welwyn Hatfield, where prices grew 8.4 per cent to £442,945. 

Three Rivers saw a 7.2 per cent rise to £562,927, while in North Herts a 6.1 per cent increase in property prices took the average to £378,973. 

Things peaked at the tail end of last year in other parts of Herts: Stevenage's record high of £317,456 was achieved last November, and the year-on-year increase to January's average of £302,318 was 6 per cent. 

In St Albans, prices also peaked in November at £573,158, while the annual increase to £560,035 in January stood at 5.8 per cent. 

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Broxbourne's prices peaked in November too, at £385,177; the annual increase to £379,696 in January was 5.4 per cent.  

The picture was bleakest in Watford, which was the only district where property prices fell in the year to January, dropping by 2.7 per cent to £355,428, having reached their record high of £374,047 in October. 

The average price for Herts as a whole peaked in November at £442,109 – slightly higher than the £441,753 recorded in January, which was up 6.9 per cent on the year before. 

Sales volumes across Herts have also reached a record high; in June 2021 – the most recent period for which figures are available – 3,909 properties were sold across the county, the highest figure since records began in 1995.

It's not just Hertfordshire that's experiencing a property boom, however; Nationwide's latest house price index reported annual growth of 14.3 per cent for February across the UK, taking the cost of a typical home to £265,312.

This is the fastest annual pace of growth since 2004, and the mortgage lender noted "a surprising amount of momentum" in the UK housing market, in spite of "the mounting pressure on household budgets and the steady rise in borrowing costs".

Indeed, the cost of living crisis appears to have done little to subdue the market, which has remained buoyant during the pandemic, in part due to government incentives such as the stamp duty holiday. 

Nick Ingle, head of residential sales at Savills in Harpenden, said lifestyle factors are continuing to play a part, with "a significant pool of people" still looking for large family homes with plenty of space in close proximity to the countryside.

Nick Ingle of Savills' Harpenden office.

Nick Ingle of Savills' Harpenden office. - Credit: Savills

A shortage of supply continues to present a major issue, however: "There’s simply not been enough properties on the market to meet demand," Nick said. "This has created fierce competition among buyers and prices have risen as a result. That’s especially true for the county’s best in class properties as well as those in some of the most desirable locations such as well-connected market towns and surrounding villages."

April and May are traditionally Savills' busiest time of year, so Nick is expecting to see more properties come onto the market over the next few weeks.

"Looking further ahead, our researchers are predicting that the imbalance between fairly resilient levels of demand and the shortage of available stock will continue to be the overriding driver of house prices, potentially cushioning any impact of rising interest rates.

"The Bank of England has also launched its consultation on the relaxation of mortgage regulation, which could further mitigate the impact of interest rate rises in the future.

"However the prospect of further rate rises over the course of the year also points to a continued stratification of the market, with activity levels remaining more robust in higher price bands where more affluent buyers have more housing equity to fall back on.”