The main findings from the latest House Price Index (HPI) from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) were:
- Average house prices in the UK have increased by 3.2% in the year to August 2018 (down from 3.4% in July 2018)
- As of August 2018, the average house price is £233,000 – this is £7,000 higher than August 2017
- Prices have broadly remained stable at a national level since April 2018
Commentary on the latest HPI
Steve Seal, Director of Sales & Marketing at Bluestone Mortgages, comments on the latest ONS HPI statistics: “It will be a relief for many borrowers that house price growth continues to slow down. However, this does not avoid the fact that many would-be homeowners remain in Generation Rent.
“With the cost of living expenses increasing month-on-month, aspiring borrowers may find their savings squeezed – particularly when it comes to an unexpected life event like an accident, divorce or illness. Leading to some going into the red, certain lenders may use these events as the reason not to progress with an application. It’s therefore vital that specialist lenders continue to provide support for these borrowers who require extra attention, without making a judgement solely based on a number.”
Craig McKinlay, New Business Director, Kensington Mortgages comments: “Albeit at a slower rate, house prices are still creeping up – in large part due to our lack of supply. As a result, all rungs of the ladder struggle to find appropriate property, which in turn slows down housing activity.
“With the Autumn Budget only a few weeks away, it would be great to see the government introduce incentives for older homeowners to downsize. An exemption from Stamp Duty, for example, would encourage movement. Understandably, there has been a lot of attention on first-time buyers, but maybe it’s time to start thinking about those further up the ladder too.”
Chrysanthy Pispinis, of Post Office Money, comments: “Despite the continued overall slowdown in house price growth, there are areas in the UK that are still seeing strong growth year-on-year. Cities such as Manchester and Leicester have seen 9% growth in the last year, though this shouldn’t deter first-time buyers (FTBs) as properties in these areas still remain affordable for new buyers.
“Other cities which are continuing to see growth and provide affordable options for FTBs include Portsmouth and Southampton, both with 8% growth over the last year. Three in five (63%) recent FTBs compromised on location to get their foot on the ladder, proving that buyers can find their first home and make their money go further by doing their research.”