Property News

Little change in UK house price growth during August

Em Morley - September 3, 2019

The Nationwide House Price Index for August 2019 is now out, showing that there has been little change in the UK house price growth.

The highlights of the month’s report include:

·     Annual house price growth remained subdued at 0.6% 

·     Prices unchanged month-on-month, after taking account of seasonal factors 

Commenting on the figures, Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s Chief Economist, said: “Annual house price growth remained below 1% for the ninth month in a row in August, at 0.6%. While house price growth has remained fairly stable, there have been mixed signals from the property market in recent months. 

“Surveyors report that new buyer enquiries have increased a little, though key consumer confidence indicators remain subdued. Data on the number of property transactions points to a slowdown in activity, though the number of mortgages approved for house purchase has remained broadly stable. 

“Housing market trends will remain heavily dependent on developments in the broader economy. In the near term, healthy labour market conditions and low borrowing costs will provide underlying support, though uncertainty is likely to continue to exert a drag on sentiment and activity. 

Lucy Pendleton, founder director of independent estate agents James Pendleton, has commented: “The property market remains in a state best described as stasis and for a good 15 months now, buyer behaviour has been characterised by a good deal of tyre kicking. 

“Evidence of this can be seen in the woeful transactions figures of late. However, that’s not to say that buyers have retreated entirely. They are still looking. In fact, buyers are still all over the property portals like a rash but they just aren’t pulling the trigger. 

“Instead, they’re sitting tight and whether you choose your metaphors sympathetically (snipers) or not (vultures), the end result is the same. 

“The pace of the market is extremely slow and in London more expensive properties are being hit hardest. Anything between £1.4m and £1.8m is sticky and hanging around longer. 

“The market has washed up where it is with a growth rate that makes European Commission meetings look thrilling because of inaction, not some hard fought war of attrition between buyers and sellers over fair value. 

“The willingness of some vendors to discount continues to be frequently undone by the reluctance of others to follow suit. Normally this ‘paying forward’ of discounts is what can get chains over the line but disagreement about the economic outlook is leading to a lack of cooperation.

“The housing market’s two great foes remain Brexit and Stamp Duty.”

You can read the full report here.