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House prices fell 1.4% in 2023 but are expected to rise this year

UK house prices fell by 1.4% in the year to December 2023, according to the latest figures from the Land Registry.

However, that was less than the fall of 2.3% in the 12 months to November.

Average house prices increased by 0.1% between November 2023 and December 2023, compared with a decrease of 0.8% during the same period a year earlier.

The estimated number of transactions of residential properties in December 2023 with a value of £40,000 or greater was 85,420. This is 17.8% lower than December 2022.

The regional data for England indicates that between November and December:

• the South East experienced the most significant monthly decrease with a movement of -1.9%
• the West Midlands saw the greatest monthly price growth, with a rise of 2.6%
• the North West experienced the greatest annual price rise, up by 1.2%
• London saw the lowest annual price growth, with a fall of -4.8%

Property experts had expected prices to fall further this year, but many are now revising their estimates as inflation continues to stabilise, reducing the likelihood of interest rate cuts.

The international real estate consultancy, Knight Frank, now predicts that house prices could increase by 3% this year.

Please contact us if you would like advice about the legal aspects of buying or selling a property.

Court settles dispute between three brothers over inheritance

The High Court has settled a dispute between three brothers over the inheritance of the family farm.

The court heard that the brothers had all worked on the farm for most of their lives having been given assurances by their father, Albert, and mother, Brenda, that they would inherit equal shares.

Richard Winter and Adrian Winter said their parents had reiterated these assurances several times over many years and told them they were ‘working for their futures’.

When Brenda died, each son inherited 26.66% with Albert retaining the other 20%.

However, when Albert died in 2015, he left his 20% to his other son Philip, bringing his share of the business to 46.66%.

Richard and Adrian challenged the will, saying they had worked on the farm for only modest remuneration and had only done so because they thought they would all inherit equally. They said the effect of the will was that they had suffered a detriment unfairly.

The court found in their favour.

It accepted that they had stayed with the business for most of their working lives on the basis of the assurances given by their parents. In doing so, they had forfeited the chance to pursue a different career.

They had therefore established that they had suffered a detriment by relying on those assurances.

The remedy was to give equal shares to each son in line with the assurances they had been given for all their working lives.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of wills and probate.