In 2019, first time buyers are targeting houses. They are bypassing flats and moving straight into houses – leading to a fall in the cost of apartments, official figures suggest.
The cost of a typical apartment or maisonette in England has fallen by 2.1% in a year, while other types of property have become more expensive.
Experts suggest people are buying their first home later and are happy to rent a flat, but not necessarily buy one. Many apartments being built in cities are designed specifically for rental.
The cost of detached homes has been rising fastest, with semi-detached and terraced homes also going up in England, figures from the Land Registry show. In Wales, prices of all types of property are going up, but rises are slowest among flats and maisonettes. First-time buyers want to buy a home to live in for longer than their predecessors, according to Richard Donnell, insight director at Zoopla. This meant they were more likely to push themselves to buy something bigger and wanted to “leapfrog” flats, he said.
He said that the fall in demand from investors, many of whom have pulled out of the market, had affected demand for flats.
Primarily the slowdown in the market in London and the South East of England had meant lower demand for flats, as there was a heavy concentration of apartments in the capital.
Major housing projects from the old Battersea Power Station in London to plans for the Metalworks in Liverpool suggest that developers still see plenty of demand for city flats.
The overall trend suggests that apartments are becoming more affordable.
Research for online estate agents Housesimple suggests buyers can purchase a flat for less than £80,000 in 17 towns and cities in the UK.
Based on Land Registry figures, it said the average flat in Burnley was the cheapest at £54,161, followed by Hartlepool (£57,659), Middlesbrough (£63,100), Durham (£63,638), Blackpool (£67,670), and Preston (£74,084).
In contrast, the average price of a flat in Kensington and Chelsea in London was more than £1m, and – despite house price falls – the cheapest London boroughs of Havering, Barking and Dagenham, and Bexley still saw the average cost of a flat totalling more than £230,000.