Posts with tag: house price growth

Annual House Price Growth at 5% in August, Show Official Figures

Published On: October 17, 2017 at 9:35 am


Categories: Property News

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Annual house price growth stood at a solid 5.0% in August, up from 4.5% in July, according to the latest official figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and Land Registry.

The annual growth rate has slowed since mid-2016, but has remained broadly under 5% during 2017.

In August, the average house price across the UK was £226,000. This is £11,000 higher than in August last year and £1,000 up on the previous month.

By country

The main contributor to the increase in UK house prices was England, where the average property value increased by 5.3% over the year to August, with the typical home now worth £244,000.

Wales saw house prices rise by an average of 3.4% over the last 12 months, to reach an average of £150,000. In Scotland, annual growth stood at 3.9%, taking the average value to £146,000. The average house price in Northern Ireland currently stands at £129,000, after rising by 4.4% over the past year.


On a regional basis, London continues to be home to the highest average property value in the UK, at £484,000, followed by the South East and the East of England, where average house prices are £325,000 and £288,000 respectively. The lowest average price continues to be found in the North East, at £131,000.

Annual House Price Growth at 5% in August, Show Official Figures

Annual House Price Growth at 5% in August, Show Official Figures

The North West showed the highest annual growth in the year to August, with prices up by an average of 6.5%. This was followed by the East of England, East Midlands and South West, where prices rose by 6.4% in each. The lowest annual growth was recorded in London, where the average property value was up by just 2.6% in the 12 months to August, followed by the North East, at 3.7%.

By local authority

The local authority showing the highest annual rate of growth in the year to August was Wellingborough, where prices increased by an average of 15.3%, to reach £215,000.

Low numbers of sales transactions in some local authorities, such as the Shetland Islands and City of London, can lead to volatility in the series. Whilst efforts are made to account for this volatility, the change in price in these areas can be influenced by the type and number of properties sold in any given period.

The lowest annual rate of growth was recorded in Aberdeenshire, where prices dropped by an average of 5.7%, to stand at £189,000.

In August, the most expensive location to purchase a property was the Royal London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, where the average home cost £1.2m. In contrast, the cheapest area to buy was Blaenau Gwent, which has an average property value of £82,000.

Industry comments

Ishaan Malhi, the CEO and Founder of online mortgage broker Trussle, responds to the latest house price figures: “House price growth is good news for homeowners, but won’t be welcomed by those looking to get on the ladder. We’ve already begun to see many lenders increase their rates this month, and there could be further rate rises on the horizon from the Bank of England. This will make securing a first mortgage that bit harder, though we should remember that there are still extremely attractive mortgage deals on the market.

“If the Bank of England does decide to raise the base rate next month, it will have an immediate impact on those on a variable rate mortgage, who will see their monthly mortgage payments creep up. With more rate rises potentially on the horizon, those nearing or beyond the end of their initial mortgage term should already be thinking about switching to a more suitable deal.”

Russell Quirk, the Founder and CEO of online estate agent, also comments: “A rather modest rate of growth continues for the UK market, but positive growth nonetheless, which is good news for homeowners given the turbulent market conditions.

“This slowdown in price growth may seem as unusual as the sun that shone over the UK yesterday, but there are positive signs peeping through the clouds. While a slowing London market may be putting a dampener on the overall forecast, England continues to lead the way where prices are concerned, with many areas seeing strong annual growth.

“It’s testament to the diversity and resilience of the UK market that this growth is spread across the North West, South West, East and Midlands.

With a sustained level of buyer interest, albeit more cautious than usual, the market should weather any potential storm on the horizon, with the dark clouds of recent market uncertainty already starting to lift.”

The CEO and Co-Founder of buy-to-let specialist Landbay, John Goodall, offers his thoughts: “House prices rose across the UK in August, as the market shrugged off any signs of a prolonged summer slowdown. Although record low mortgage rates will be helping those who have already stumped up a deposit, escalating house prices will come as yet another blow to aspiring homeowners looking to get their foot on the housing ladder.

“It is essential that the Government doesn’t lose focus on addressing the housing crisis and makes good on its promise to build the thousands of new, affordable homes that people desperately need. Fast approaching, next month’s Autumn Budget will be a chance for the Chancellor to reassure the industry on these plans and, I hope, address some further urgent matters. Investment and planning in the areas where rental and house price growth is reaching particularly unsustainable levels, like the East of England, will be key.”

Richard Snook, the Senior Economist at PwC, has this to say: “Today’s housing market data from the ONS and Land Registry shows relatively little movement in price growth from the previous month. House price inflation rose to 5.0% in the year to August, from a downwardly revised 4.5% in July (originally reported as 5.1%). This takes the average UK price to £226,000 in August.

“London remains the weakest performing English region and the August figures show the average price of a home fell by £5,000 to £484,000. Prices are now just 2.5% higher than they were a year ago. With overall consumer price inflation at 2.7% in August, this means London’s house prices declined in real terms.

“The uncertainty over Brexit may be felt more keenly in London than other areas, due to the importance of international businesses. Figures from the City of London borough bear this out, where prices are down 18.4% compared to a year ago.

“Growth remained quite strong in the rest of England, especially in the North West, where prices were up 6.5% in the year to August. The East Midlands, South West and Eastern regions all showed growth of 6.4%.”

House Prices Up by 4% Annually in September, Reports Halifax

Published On: October 9, 2017 at 9:44 am


Categories: Property News

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House prices rose by an average of 4% on an annual basis in September, according to the latest House Price Index from Halifax. This is higher than the year-on-year increase recorded in August (2.6%), and the highest rate since February.

On a quarterly basis, house prices in the last three months (July-September) were 1.4% higher than in the previous quarter – the fastest price growth on this measure since February.

Month-on-month, the average price rose by 0.8% between August and September, following a 1.5% increase in August. The average property value is now £225,109.

The report also shows that total UK home sales remained flat in August, but still exceeded 100,000 for the eighth consecutive month.

House Prices Up by 4% Annually in September, Reports Halifax

House Prices Up by 4% Annually in September, Reports Halifax

Mortgage approvals fell by 2.7% between July and August to 66,580, after rising to their highest level since January. Mortgage approvals have remained in a narrow range between 65,100 and 68,700 per month over the last 11 months.

New sales instructions have improved, however, but are still close to an all-time low. A shortage of homes for sale continues to impede market activity, with the balance of new sales instructions down for the 18th consecutive month in August. The average stock level on estate agents’ books edged up, but still remains close to a record low.

The Managing Director of Halifax Community Bank, Russell Galley, says: “While the quarterly and annual rates of house price growth have improved, they are lower than at the start of the year. UK house prices continue to be supported by an ongoing shortage of properties for sale and solid growth in full-time employment. However, increasing pressure on spending power and continuing affordability concerns may well dampen buyer demand. There has been recent speculation on the possibility of a rise in the Bank of England base rate. We do not anticipate this will have a significant effect on transaction volumes.”

The Founder Director of independent estate agent James Pendleton, Lucy Pendleton, also comments on the data: “The back-to-school bounce in September is likely the cause of this substantial rebound in growth. It is an annual trend which sees a backlog of transactions brokered in the summer months complete in September once everyone comes back from holiday.

“What that often means is that the prices attached to those transactions reflect where the market was much earlier in the year, when prices were higher. On the face of it, this rate of annual growth shoots the market right over the head of inflation, with a healthy 1.1% gap, and means homeowners are no longer living in an investment that is losing money in real terms.

“You would think this data would instill much more confidence among sellers, but, actually, this seasonal distortion is quite misleading and you could see price growth soften just as quickly in the coming months.

“In London, we are currently seeing many more price reductions at bigger discounts compared with last year. A vendor who commits to a significant price reduction one week is selling the next. This will provide some comfort to first time buyers, who are desperate to see prices come back down to Earth rather than take off again, particularly in the capital.”

Jonathan Samuels, the CEO of lender Octane Capital, responds: “The price growth we’re seeing is bittersweet, driven by weak supply more than consumer confidence and economic strength.

“Structural supply problems, a shortage of properties for sale and a robust jobs market are keeping the property market afloat. Even if rates are hiked this year or in early 2018, the consensus is that they are unlikely to rise more than quarter of a percent.

“The stakes are simply too high and the economic backdrop too uncertain for anything more than a nominal rise in interest rates. Since any rate rises will be limited, the impact on transaction volumes may indeed be negligible in the near term.

“It’s when rates start creeping towards and above 1% that we are likely to see confidence hit. That’s when things start to change and when prices could come under increased pressure.

“Despite the overall positive numbers from the Halifax, the property market is still in a limbo and will remain there while a number of key political and economic factors play out. In 2018, the narrative of a sideways-moving market with relatively low transaction levels and buyers in the driving seat is likely to continue.”

Russell Quirk, the Founder and CEO of online estate agent, gives his thoughts: “No signs of an autumnal cold snap where UK house price growth is concerned and, in fact, the UK market seems to be enjoying somewhat of an Indian Summer, with the highest quarterly growth rate since February and the highest average house price on record.

“It seems more than apparent that the UK market has found its feet and is starting to gain momentum again. This momentum is unlikely to regress, despite the ongoing spectacle of Britain leaving the EU. In addition, while an increase in interest rates seems very likely over the coming months, they are already at such a low level that any increase is likely to be marginal and insignificant when it comes to impacting or deterring buyers.

“With the ongoing issue of building supply, UK homeowners can be assured the price of their property will remain stable as we head towards 2018.”

And finally, Ishaan Malhi, the CEO and Founder of online mortgage broker Trussle, says:
“A double-blow could be about to hit aspiring homeowners in the coming months. Not only have house prices started to creep up again across the country, but lenders have also begun to slowly increase their rates. If the Bank of England does raise the base rate in November, as expected, buyers are going to be in for a particularly tough time, so anyone thinking about purchasing their first home should get moving if they can.

“For those that already own a home, property price rises are on the face of it good news, but it’s astounding just how many are on the wrong mortgage rate and could be wasting some of those gains on unnecessarily high mortgage payments. Anyone in this situation should take a look at the best fixed rates out there at the moment, many of which are still the lowest in living memory, and lock into a low rate before the Bank of England makes its move.”

London House Prices Drop for First Time in 8 Years

Published On: September 29, 2017 at 9:53 am


Categories: Property News

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London is the weakest performing region for house price growth for the first time since 2005, with the average property value down by 0.6% on an annual basis in September, according to the latest House Price Index from Nationwide.

Across the whole of the UK, annual house price growth was stable in September, at an average of 2.0%. This is down slightly from 2.1% in August. On a monthly basis, prices rose by 0.2%, which is up on the -0.1% rate recorded in the previous month. The average house price in the UK now stands at £210,116.

The Chief Economist at Nationwide, Robert Gardner, comments on the figures: “Housing market activity, as measured by the number of housing transactions and mortgage approvals, has strengthened a little in recent months, though remains relatively subdued by historic standards.

“Low mortgage rates and healthy rates of employment growth are providing some support for demand, but this is being partly offset by pressure on household incomes, which appear to be weighing on confidence. The lack of homes on the market is providing ongoing support to prices.”

He continues: “House price growth rates across the UK have converged in recent quarters. Annual growth rates in the south of England have moderated towards those prevailing in the rest of the country. London has seen a particularly marked slowdown, with prices falling in annual terms for the first time in eight years, albeit by a modest 0.6%. Consequently, London was the weakest performing region for the first time since 2005.

“At its September meeting, the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) signalled that, if the economy evolves broadly in line with its expectations, an interest rate increase is likely in the months ahead. This would be the first increase in the bank rate since July 2007.”

Gardner looks ahead: “Clearly, much will depend on how the economy evolves, but most economists and financial market pricing suggest that a small rise of 0.25% is likely at the MPC’s next meeting in November, which would take bank rate to 0.5%.

“We would expect a modest rise in bank rate, by itself, to have only a modest impact on economic activity. Indeed, if rates are raised to 0.5%, monetary policy settings will still be a little more supportive than they were before bank rate was lowered to 0.25% in August 2016.

“This is because the MPC is unlikely to reverse the other measures it put in place last year to support credit availability in the wider economy (such as the additional purchases of Government and corporate bonds, which have helped to keep longer-term borrowing costs low). Moreover, the MPC has signalled that it expects any increase in interest rates to be gradual and limited. Indeed, financial market pricing suggests that bank rate is only likely to rise by around one percentage point (to 1.25%) over the next five years.”

So how much of a squeeze would this exert on households?

Gardner explains: “Providing the economy does not weaken further, the impact of a small rise in interest rates on UK households is likely to be modest. This is partly because the proportion of borrowers directly impacted will be smaller than in the past. In recent years, the vast majority of new mortgages have been extended on fixed interest rates

“The share of outstanding mortgages on variable interest rates (and which are therefore likely to see an increase in payments if bank rate is increased) has fallen to its lowest level on record, at c.40%, down from a peak of 70% in 2001.

London House Prices Drop for First Time in 8 Years

London House Prices Drop for First Time in 8 Years

“Moreover, a 0.25% increase in rates is likely to have a modest impact on most borrowers who are on variable rates. For example, on the average mortgage, an increase of 0.25% would increase monthly payments by £15 to £665 (equivalent to £180 per year).”

He carries on: “That’s not to say that the rise will be welcome news for many borrowers. Household budgets are already under pressure from the fact that wages have not been rising as fast as the cost of living. Indeed, in real terms (i.e. after adjusting for inflation), wage rates are still at levels prevailing in 2005.

“Moreover, some households already have a relatively high debt service burden. For example, the English Housing Survey suggests that around 12% of households already spend over 30% of their gross income on their mortgage each month. For these households, some of which will be on variable rates, the rise will be a struggle, even though the impact on the wider economy and most households is likely to be modest.”

Gardner adds: “A first increase in interest rates for ten years will be welcomed by savers, though it is likely to provide limited relief. An increase in bank rate will not be passed on to all savings accounts (for example, we estimate that around 15% of balances are on fixed rates) and, even where the rise is passed on in full, rates will remain low by historic standards.”

Nationwide has also released its Quarterly Regional House Price Statistics for the third quarter (Q3) of the year, finding that the East Midlands was the top performing region.

Annual house price growth across all UK regions remained within a fairly narrow range once again in Q3, while prices were up by an average of 5.1% in the East Midlands year-on-year. This is the first time since 2002 that the region has taken the top spot.

London was the only region to record a yearly price decline, with an average drop of 0.6%. This is the first time since Q3 2009 that London house prices have fallen on an annual basis.

Northern Ireland saw a softening in annual growth to 2.4%, from 3.8% in the previous quarter, while Wales experienced a slight pick-up, to 2.6%. In Scotland, annual price growth was similar to Q2, at 1.9%.

The average house price in England rose by 0.7% during Q3 and was up by 2.3% over the past 12 months.

Continuing the pattern seen in Q2, price growth in northern England (the West Midlands, East Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber, the North West and north) exceeded that in southern England (the South West, outer South East, Outer Metropolitan, London and East Anglia). Northern England witnessed a 3.2% annual increase, while prices increased by 1.9% in the south.

Although price growth in the south has slowed, the gap in cash terms between southern and northern England is still exceptionally high, at £171,000 – a figure that has doubled over the last decade.

The Founder Director of independent estate agent James Pendleton, Lee James Pendleton, offers his comment on the latest data: “The bellwether has turned, but it’s a really positive thing because it’s going to get the market moving.

“London has been the torchbearer of quite unbelievable growth in recent years, but it has been an overvalued market for at least the last three years. This shows vendors and agents are becoming more realistic, but you’ve got to use an agent that is going to tell you what you need hear. People have got so used to prices going up and the result is too many people have been priced out. London cooling is going to really engage buyers and put us on a better, more stable footing towards the end of the year.”

He insists: “People have got to get out of the habit of thinking of their property as an investment but as a home, quite soon they may not have any choice. The most surprising thing of all is how the capital managed to keep up its march skyward for so long. There have been so many headwinds but an era of cheap borrowing has seen buyers refuse to be intimidated. That period of bravado now seems to have come to an end as the capital’s fortunes diverge from those of every other region.

“Within the UK market, the ripple effect always begins in London, with the Home Counties and regions benefitting further down the line. They still are it seems, and the effects of London finally easing off the gas will take some time to trickle through.

“Annual house price growth nationally may be stable, but it’s still way off the pace of inflation. Threadneedle St has also been very careful to prepare everyone for a rate rise soon, if not this year. I expect all this to seriously focus the minds of homeowners having to make those all important decisions on how much to pay, how much to borrow and whether to move home at all until that much trailed rate rise arrives.”

Russell Quirk, the Founder and CEO of online estate agent, also comments: “It is not surprising that the UK’s market stabilises as we head into the busy autumn selling season, after a slowdown during August. London’s stall in growth during September is likely a continued ripple effect from the summer holidays, as schools opened their doors and potential homebuyers were getting back into a routine with family. There are optimistic signs that the resilient London market will catch up to the rest of the UK in the coming months.”

The Editor in Chief of, Hannah Maundrell, adds: “The market seems to be cooling slightly in London, which will hopefully give people more of a chance to get on the housing ladder – despite still being the most expensive region.

“Prices are still on the rise for the rest of the country, with the East Midlands seeing the greatest price increase. It’s important here to make sure you do your research before you buy to get the best deal.

“If you’re looking to buy in the capital, power could be tipping in your balance, so make sure you do your research and haggle to get a price you’re happy with. If you’re selling, make sure the price you’re asking is realistic and be confident about the minimum you’re able to accept. If you want to sell at the top end of the price scale, you’ll need to make sure your home is better than anything else out there, and be prepared to wait for someone that wants to pay a premium.”

Autumn House Price Bounce Failing to Materialise, with 1.2% Drop

Published On: September 18, 2017 at 9:07 am


Categories: Property News

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The usual autumn house price bounce has so far failed to materialise, according to the latest House Price Index from Rightmove, for September 2017, with a drop of 1.2% in the average price of property coming to market.

This is the first decline at this time of year since 2013, though the national average fall has very much been exacerbated by a large 2.9% monthly decrease in London and smaller drops in all other southern regions. The national monthly decline when removing London would be a much smaller 0.5%.

The London fall is being driven by its continued readjustment, particularly in the higher-end boroughs, with decreases in five out of the six most expensive boroughs this month.

On an annual basis, house prices are still up by 1.1% on last September, taking the average value to £310,003.

The Director and Housing Market Analyst at Rightmove, Miles Shipside, comments: “As we enter the autumn selling season, it is usual to see estate agents advising new-to-the-market sellers to push up their asking prices. But, this year, all four southern regions have seen new sellers on average asking less than those of a month ago, reducing the national rate of increase.

“There were autumn price bounces nationally in 2014, 2015 and 2016, but the south of the country has turned this month into a bit of a damp squib, whilst some northern regions are still showing marginal signs of upwards price pressure. Estate agents are clearly advising many sellers that they have to lower their price expectations to fit in with buyers’ stretched financial resources, with that price compromise hopefully generating extra buyer interest.”

With the average price of property coming onto the market having risen every year for the last six years, most buyers have seen their buying power eroding away. But, annual average wage growth is now outstripping the annual rate of house price growth in newly-marketed property.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has reported that average annual wage growth was running at 2.1% in both the second quarter (Q2) of this year and the month of July, while the price of property coming onto the market is now increasing at just 1.1%. This is the lowest annual rate of house price inflation since February 2012, when it stood at 0.7%.

Autumn House Price Bounce Failing to Materialise, with 1.2% Drop

Autumn House Price Bounce Failing to Materialise, with 1.2% Drop

Shipside explains the figures: “It’s unavoidable that prices will eventually reach a limit and, having gone up every year for the last six years, the pace of price rises for newly-marketed property is now dawdling at just 1.1%.

“Interest rates cannot realistically drop any further to help buyer affordability, but the potentially good news for buyers’ finances, which have been under attack for years, is that there is some relief from the wage-rise cavalry. Average wage rises are now running at nearly double the annual rate of property price rises and, the longer any meaningful differential is maintained, then the greater the improvement in buyer affordability. Having finally turned the tables to potentially improve their buying power, buyers will now be hoping that it is not eroded again by an interest rate rise or rampant consumer price inflation.”

Whilst affordability constraints are a major factor in the slowing pace of house price growth, demand for the right housing at the right price remains strong, due to historic under-supply. Some discretionary movers are deterred by a lack of choice and the cost of moving, and the political outlook remains uncertain.

However, in spite of these factors, the number of sales being agreed by estate agents is 4.8% higher than in the same period last year, with all regions recording growth, including London, which is performing strongly at 5.6% – up despite its large monthly price decline.

Looking at the market by property sector, sales agreed for second-stepper homes, typically those with three bedrooms, have risen by 6.7% on last year, with this sector also seeing the largest annual price increase, at 2.9%.

Shipside observes: “The housing needs of growing families are harder to postpone than other more discretionary moves, and this has resulted in average asking prices for typical second-stepper type homes increasing at over twice the overall national average rate. With competition among lenders to lend, increasing wages and the lowest level of unemployment since 1975, buyers are still keen to buy if the property is worth the money and well presented. If more sellers appreciate that sensible pricing is the best way forward, then this will help to maintain good levels of buyer activity, despite the uncertain political outlook.”

Robert McLaughlin, the Sales Director of Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward estate agent in London, comments: “We’ve advised sellers in many locations across London that the current market requires sensible and realistic pricing. Pockets of high demand still exist, but tend to be concentrated around specific streets, schools and transport hubs. Transaction volumes are increasing and properties priced realistically continue to sell well, but those looking to enter the market should speak to a local agent who really knows their patch, in order to get an understanding of local activity and demand.”

The Branch Manager of RE/MAX in prime central London, Roger Collings, continues: “Between 2009 and 2015, the large majority of property buyers were cash buyers, although currently not so much. In the current market, sales volumes have dropped in prime central London, and the market has softened to some degree. We are finding that most homeowners are not in any hurry to get rid of their properties, which has resulted in fewer listings available to buyers and fewer sales.

“In 2009 until 2015, the central London market was inundated with investors looking to purchase property as a way to invest their money in a safe financial environment. However, since the introduction of the 3% surcharge on Stamp Duty paid by investors, along with the uncertainty as to how Brexit will impact London’s property market, investors have been standing on the sidelines. We are beginning to see more and more investors venturing back into the market, but we are still a long way from the volumes we saw pre-referendum. There are markets outside of central London that are still buoyant with local buyers.”

Mark Manning, the Director of Manning Stainton in Leeds, Harrogate, Wetherby and Wakefield, also offers his reaction to the index: “The market across our region experienced a fairly traditional summer slowdown but, interestingly, managed to outperform our results from the same period one year ago. There has been a 10% increase in the volume of new seller enquiries over the last three months, in contrast with the same period in 2016, and a more modest 2% increase in the number of new buyer registrations, but an increase nonetheless. All of this equates to a market which continues to offer good results and steady price growth as we head into the second busy period of 2017. And with a continuing appetite amongst mortgage providers to lend and a relative lack of stock in the market, it’s difficult to see how this trend will change in the short-term across our region.”

Finally, the Founder and CEO of online estate agent, Russell Quirk, adds: “On the contrary to what Rightmove may be reporting, we’ve already seen signs of a bounce back in house prices during the back end of the summer months. As this index is based on asking prices and not data on completed sales, it is important to take it with a pinch of salt where the strength of the market is concerned and not be drawn into any scaremongering based on initial asking prices.

“We are heading into one of the busiest times of year for the UK property market and, whilst traditionally many agents may have encouraged sellers to over-price to get them on the books, the slower market over the last year has probably put a halt to this. I think many sellers are also realising this and listing their property at a more realistic price from the off, rather than see little interest and have to adjust further down the line.”

ONS/Land Registry Release their House Price Index for July 2017

Published On: September 14, 2017 at 8:06 am


Categories: Property News

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The latest official House Price Index from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and Land Registry, for July 2017, has been released.

It shows that the average UK house price increased by 5.1% in the year to July – unchanged from 5.1% in the year to June – to take it to £226,185.

The main contribution to the increase in UK house prices came from England, where the average value rose by 5.4% over the 12 months to July. In Wales, house prices were up by an average of 3.1% over the year. Scotland saw average price growth of 4.8%, while Northern Ireland recorded an average of 4.4%.

Regionally, the highest annual growth was in the East Midlands (7.5%), while the slowest rate was recorded in London (2.8%) in the 12 months to July. This is the eighth consecutive month that house price growth in the capital has remained below the UK average.

On a monthly basis, the average property value in the UK rose by 1.1% between June and July.

In terms of housing demand, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has reported that price expectations were close to zero in July, while new buyer enquiries remained slightly negative.

ONS/Land Registry Release their House Price Index for July 2017

ONS/Land Registry Release their House Price Index for July 2017

The UK Property Transaction statistics showed that, in July, the number of seasonally adjusted property transactions completed in the UK with a value of £40,000 or above increased by 8.3% on an annual basis. Month-on-month, sales were up by 1.3%.

The latest official property transaction figures, for May 2017, show that the number of sales decreased by 0.5% yearly. A lower level of transactions in May 2016 was associated with the introduction of a higher tax rate on additional properties, introduced on 1st April 2016.


The Founder and CEO of online estate agent, Russell Quirk, responds to the figures: “This latest index provides the most compelling evidence yet that the UK property market has been able to shake off the woes of the previous year and snap election, to see positive growth during the summer months.

“The rate of growth during this period is higher than previously reported by Halifax and Nationwide, which is impressive given that this price data usually lags slightly behind other industry sources that base their figures on mortgage approvals, rather than sales completions.

“A sustained level of growth can now be expected, and it is unlikely that any further developments in the Brexit process should dampen this. Although the market has taken a wobble, UK homeowners should rest assured that the worst is now behind them and we won’t be seeing a repeat of the 2007 crash.”

John Goodall, the CEO and Co-Founder of buy-to-let specialist Landbay, also says: “UK house prices appear to be bouncing back to growth as we move into the latter half of 2017. Whilst historically low mortgage rates and relatively low unemployment levels have a part to play, this is underpinned by strong overall buyer demand, which continues to outpace the number of homes coming to market.

“The UK’s housing shortfall needs plugging, but the initiatives designed to address the problem are blinkered at best. Yes, tax reform and Government schemes to help first time buyers will improve access to housing in the short-term, but, without a radical housebuilding plan, prices will continue to rise over the coming decades. Aspiring homeowners are looking to the private rented sector to support them on their path to ownership, so more action on Build to Rent properties would be a welcome development.”

An Economist at PwC, Thomas Fisher, continues: “The housing market data from the ONS and Land Registry shows that UK house price growth remained resilient through the summer months. House price inflation of 5.1% in the year to July is unchanged from June. This takes the average UK house price up to £226,000 in July.

“Regionally, house price growth continues to be weaker in London and the South East, where year-on-year growth rates in July were 2.8% and 3.8% respectively. Meanwhile, growth of over 7% in both the East Midlands and the East of England continues to drive average house price growth up for the UK overall.

“Following a summer of strong house price growth, the average house price in the South West hit a new high of £252,000, breaking through the quarter of a million mark for the first time.

“Factoring in continued pressure on household incomes in the second half of the year, we anticipate a likely weakening in UK house price inflation to around 4% on average for 2017.”

Shaun Church, the Director of mortgage broker Private Finance, also reacts: “Remortgaging roared back to life in July, as annual remortgage volumes reached their highest level since 2009. With interest rates remaining at or close to historic lows, now is a great time to switch to a more affordable deal.

“There are new signs of life in the buy-to-let market, although this is predominantly being driven by remortgage activity. However, new regulatory changes coming into force at the end of the month will make accessing mortgage finance harder for landlords with multiple properties: another deterrent for investors already punished by recent reforms.

“The continued squeeze on household incomes and an uncertain economic outlook mean that, while house prices continue to rise, they are doing so at a slower rate than in previous years. This is undoubtedly good news for prospective first time buyers trying to get on the housing ladder. However, homeowners and buy-to-let investors may be less enthused by a slower rate of capital growth on their investment.”

And Adrian Moloney, the Sales Director of OneSavings Bank, has this to say: “A shortage of housing supply is upholding property prices, while buyers continue to walk a narrow tightrope to homeownership. On the one hand, strong employment growth and historically low mortgage rates are supporting buyer demand, but, on the other, stagnant wage growth is being outstripped by consumer prices, making homes less affordable.

“Mortgage approval levels recovered last month, suggesting a small rebound in consumer confidence and affordability, despite the enduring economic unknowns that continue to cloud the long-term view.

“We’re still seeing ripples from the Stamp Duty increases of 2016, which caused a fair amount of turbulence in the property market, stymieing liquidity by discouraging people from buying or selling their homes. A move which has done little to address the underlying supply side issues that continue to fuel the housing crisis.”

Annual House Price Growth Picks up to 2.6%, Reports Halifax

Published On: September 7, 2017 at 9:06 am


Categories: Property News

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Annual house price growth picked up to 2.6% in the three months to August, from 2.1% in July, according to the latest House Price Index from Halifax.

On a quarterly basis, house prices in the last three months (June to August) were 0.1% higher than in the previous three months (March to May). Price growth on this measure has edged up for the first time since March.

Month-on-month, house price growth reached 1.1% in August, from 0.7% in July, taking the average property value in the UK to £222,293.

UK home sales continue to exceed 100,000; the latest data, for July, shows that property transactions reached 104,760 – the highest monthly level since March 2016. Sales have now exceeded 100,000 for the seventh consecutive month and, in the three months to July, activity was 10% higher than in the same period last year.

Annual House Price Growth Picks up to 2.6%, Reports Halifax

Annual House Price Growth Picks up to 2.6%, Reports Halifax

The volume of mortgage approvals for home purchases grew sharply between June and July, by 5.2%, to hit 68,700 – the same level as in January. This increase has almost reversed all of the declines recorded so far this year, though sales have remained in a narrow range between 65,100 and 68,700 per month over the last ten months.

Halifax also reports that the supply of homes for sale continues to stay low. This shortage has been a constraint on market activity, with new instructions dropping for the 17th consecutive month in July. Average stock levels on estate agents’ books are close to an all-time low.

The Managing Director of Halifax Community Bank, Russell Galley, says: “The annual rate of growth increased from 2.1% in July to 2.6% in August, with the average house price now £222,293, which is just above the previous high of December 2016 (£222,190).

“Recent figures for mortgage approvals suggest some buoyancy may be returning, possibly on the back of strong recent employment growth, with the unemployment rate falling to a 42-year low. However, wage growth is still lagging increases in consumer prices, which is likely to add pressure on household finances and increase affordability challenges for some buyers.”

He adds: “House prices should continue to be supported by low mortgage rates and a continuing shortage of properties for sale over the coming months.”

Russell Quirk, the Founder and CEO of online estate agent, also comments: “Rather than returning from the holiday period sunburnt and bleary-eyed, the UK housing market has defied the usual slower summer trends to show strong price growth on a monthly and annual basis.

“Although the same can’t be said for wage growth, mortgage rates still remain low and, this, coupled with the ongoing shortage of stock and high volume of sales, should see UK house prices continue this upward trajectory heading towards Christmas.

“This initial increase puts the market in good stead, despite a rough ride over the last year, and we should now see some degree of normality return as we see out 2017.”

The Head of Sales at independent estate agent James Pendleton, Ewen Bunting, offers his thoughts: “The housing market is level pegging with inflation once again, as supply remains a major driver. It was only in July that inflation gained the upper hand. Homeowners began to see the cost of everything they buy going up quicker than the price of their house, but this battle isn’t over yet.

“Nationally, we’re now facing a year-and-a-half straight of falling instructions. There just hasn’t been enough choice out there and, among those who simply need to buy and have the means, there’s no option but to meet seller demands.”

He continues: “In London though, we’re seeing positive signs of supply rising, bucking the national trend in a market that often acts as a bellwether for the country as a whole.

“There’s no doubt low mortgage rates will be tempting many to throw caution to the wind and seal the deal on their next step up the ladder, and sellers could be responding to this.

“If prices are to cool later this year, amid a squeeze on spending and a possible rise in interest rates, it would be better this is driven by increased supply than a collapse in buyer confidence at prices that have risen relatively sharply in many areas, including London and the South East in recent years.”

And Alastair McKee, the Managing Director of independent mortgage broker One 77 Mortgages, also responds to the data: “First time buyers are proving to be the ballast of the property market. The Help to Buy initiative, coupled with the sheer competitiveness of the mortgage rates available and softer house prices, have opened a window of opportunity for many first time buyers.

“First time buyers have made up for the lack of demand from landlords, and then some. Many people also want to get onto the property market, and lock into low fixed mortgages rates, before interest rates potentially start to rise. There’s a sense that the clock is ticking on rates, and that is certainly a factor in the steady number of transactions.

“The toxic combination of high inflation and low wage growth is a key threat to the property market, and could see confidence unravel if it gets out of hand. But, if the jobs market remains strong and inflation doesn’t rise far beyond its current level, there is no reason to think the market couldn’t continue along its current path for some time yet.”