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Average UK house prices hit £283,000 in May 2022, says government report

Published On: July 20, 2022 at 10:51 am

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Today’s house price index from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows the average UK house price was £283,000 in May 2022. This is £32,000 higher than that time last year.

Highlights from the report also include:

  • UK average house prices increased by 12.8% over the year to May 2022, up from 11.9% in April 2022
  • Average house prices increased over the year in England to £302,000 (13.1%), in Wales to £212,000 (14.4%), in Scotland to £188,000 (11.2%) and in Northern Ireland to £165,000 (10.4%)
  • London continues to be the region with the lowest annual growth at 8.2%

Industry comments on the UK House Price Index: May 2022

Richard Eagling, personal finance expert at NerdWallet, says: “A cooling off period for the property market still seems to be in the offing, and it is always important to note that the ONS house price index tracks a couple of months behind others, so it was unlikely that today’s data would show any slowdown in price growth just yet. 

“Many prospective homebuyers will be watching prices with great interest, deciding when the right time is to act. As with any financial commitment, it is imperative that individuals first evaluate all facets of their financial situation, including their personal savings, credit ratings, outstanding debts, and income. Once this is completed, they can adjust their budget and factor in higher costs – and potentially reassess their home search.

“Additionally, would-be homebuyers must carefully evaluate any mortgage offers, and research the best deals available in terms of rates and loan-to-value options. Making use of online tools such as comparison sites can be helpful here, as it can speed up the process.

“It remains to be seen whether the dual challenge of rising interest rates and inflation will cause house prices to stabilise or deflate a little after a two-year period of remarkable growth. But byers who do their research and preparation now will put themselves in the best position to act when the time is right for them.”

Paresh Raja, CEO of Market Financial Solutions, says: “Political and economic uncertainty invariably fuels speculation that the property market will suffer, but we should be wary of predicting any radical shifts. Rising inflation and interest rates, coupled with political jousting within the Conservative Party, are clearly all factors that will affect the actions of many buyers and sellers across the market. But other factors are at play.

“The perennial undersupply of property plays a critical role in keeping prices high, and this is an issue that will take many, many years to tackle. Moreover, we have seen throughout the pandemic that despite a great deal of uncertainty, house prices have risen. This is because many homebuyers and investors often seek out the security of bricks and mortar as an asset to own – a reflection of the long-term trend of property prices rising and rising.

“That is why we should not be too quick to predict a fall, but instead stay alert to the challenges at hand and focus on make informed, diligent decisions before any property investment.”

Andy Sommerville, Director at Search Acumen, says: “The latest ONS data demonstrates that, despite cost of living pressures acting as a brake on price growth, house prices remain extremely high by historic standards.

“As each month passes, interest rates, inflation, and other cost of living pressures, are intensifying and it is likely that there will be further strain placed on household finances in the upcoming quarters, particularly as inflation is forecast to reach double digits and energy bills are set to rise again in the autumn.

“Nevertheless, while economic turbulence will inevitably and increasingly act to stymie house price growth, prices will continue to stick at peak levels for some time because of an unprecedented set of market dynamics. Post pandemic lifestyle preferences are proving incredibly powerful in driving demand. This, combined with persistent low supply, continues to offset the impact of cost of living on pricing.

“At the same time, while cost of living is having an impact for many first time and lower income buyers, mortgage rates are still low by historic standards, which is allowing many buyers to continue pursuing purchases despite strong pricing and rising household bills.

“While that dynamic is stubbornly holding firm at the moment, interest rates may increase significantly as the Bank of England attempts to combat the fastest pace of inflation for forty years.  As rates go up, this could impact pricing and exclude some buyers from the market.  More immediately though, this reinforces the urgent need for rapid progress in digitising our property sector to drive efficiencies.

“Many buyers are going to be pushing hard to complete purchases as quickly as possible before rates rise further. We need to ensure the sector can cope with high levels of market activity as well as an increased urgency from buyers and sellers to get sales over the line in record time before the cost of their mortgage goes up further.”

Annual increase for UK average house prices, Office for National Statistics report shows

Published On: March 25, 2022 at 9:20 am

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According to the latest House Price Index from the Government, we continue to see an annual increase in average house prices in the UK.

The main highlights of the report include:

  • UK average house prices increased by 9.6% over the year to January 2022, down from 10.0% in December 2021.
  • The average UK house price was £274,000 in January 2022, which is £24,000 higher than this time last year.
  • Average house prices increased over the year; in England to £292,000 (9.4%), in Wales to £206,000 (13.9%), in Scotland to £183,000 (10.8%) and in Northern Ireland to £159,000 (7.9%).
  • London continues to be the region with the lowest annual growth at 2.2%.

Andy Sommerville, Director at property data insight and technology provider Search Acumen, comments: “Historically, January is a slower month for house price growth as people pause and take stock of their finances at the start of a New Year. However, this year, the market continued to defy expectations and house prices climbed 9.6% in the first month of the year.

“The increase in property prices across the UK can be attributed to the gap in demand and levels of stock in the market. The solid momentum in prices has put homeowners looking to move in a strong position to sell for a premium, while first time buyers will have to lower expectations, or continue saving in the current market. “As we look ahead to the spring, we can expect to see a wave of newly listed properties to the market, which could contribute to the easing of house price growth. Added to this will be the further pinch to household spending, with energy bills set to rise from April coupled with elevated fuel and food costs. We can expect to see a consequent dampening of activity that will subdue the rise in house prices that we are currently experiencing.”

House price growth begins to slow in latest government House Price Index

The latest government UK House Price Index reports that average house prices have increased by 8.9% over the year to April 2021. This is down from 9.9% in March 2021.

The highlights of the report also include:

  • The average price of a UK property in April 2021 was £250,772
  • At the country level, the largest annual house price growth in the year to April 2021 was recorded in Wales, where house prices increased by 15.6%
  • Scotland saw house prices increase by 6.3% in the year to April 2021
  • England saw house prices increase by 8.9% in the year to April 2021
  • Northern Ireland saw house prices increase by 6.0% over the year to Q1 (January to March) 2021

Ged McPartlin, Managing Director of Ascend Properties, comments: “Despite a cooling in the monthly rate of house price growth the northern property powerhouse continues to steam ahead, registering some extremely impressive gains on an annual basis.

“This should continue for the remainder of the year, albeit at a less ferocious rate once a Stamp Duty saving is no longer on the cards, as buyers continue to take advantage of low mortgage rates and the newly available 95% mortgage.”

James Forrester, Managing Director of Barrows and Forrester, comments: “There’s no doubt that this monthly decline in house price growth is the markets lagged response to the original Stamp Duty deadline, as buyers and sellers renegotiated terms under the impression a saving was no longer on the table.

“However, it’s far from the market cliff edge that many naysayers had predicted and so it’s fair to say we can put any fears of a market crash in the wake of the extended deadlines to bed.”

Marc von Grundherr, Director of Benham and Reeves, comments: “London has been slowly simmering in comparison to the rest of the UK market having been hit hardest by pandemic uncertainty and a reduction in foreign homebuyer demand, in particular.

“However, the tide is slowly starting to turn and while there’s a very real chance that the wider UK market will come off the boil by the end of the year, London will continue to bubble.”

Matthew Cooper, Founder & Managing Director of Yes Homebuyers, comments: “Almost a full house of regional monthly house price declines in the wake of the original Stamp Duty holiday deadline gives a good indication of what awaits the market at the backend of this year.

“A correction is on the way and we can expect to see a weary market start to show signs of house price fatigue as early as next month, following the initial wind down of the Stamp Duty holiday.”

Andy Sommerville, Director at Search Acumen, comments: “This latest data indicates the new build premium shows no signs of abating.

“This is despite the monthly drop off, which is likely due to an inflation of March’s growth as people rushed to meet the first anticipated Stamp Duty deadline. Demand in April continued to outstrip the availability of housing stock, contributing to one of the biggest gaps seen in years between the price of new builds and existing properties.

“Our national housing supply squeeze looks set to continue for the foreseeable future, pushing up prices further still. The beneficiaries on the building side are the developers of homes with access to gardens, given that working from home and more flexible working practices are likely to continue in the coming months, driving people to move into bigger homes with access to green space.

“The Stamp Duty stampede is piling pressure onto property professionals who are charged with helping new buyers access homes as quickly as possible. Too often, lawyers are seen as those slowing down the moving process, but many are handicapped by legacy practices that weren’t designed for current volumes of demand or with modern consumer needs in mind. Data can provide an antidote to smooth transaction processes, so lawyers can better advise prospective buyers on the risks involved in their purchase at an earlier stage and clear the path towards completion.”

Nicky Stevenson, Managing Director at national estate agent group Fine & Country, comments: “If there’s anything that underlines changing property shopping habits, it’s the eye-watering growth rate recorded in the North East. It has eclipsed all regions bar Wales, which is another favourite destination for those escaping to the country. A leap of 16.9% in 12 months is staggering.

“By next year we’ll be looking back at a figure like this with some awe but the way the market cools from this point doesn’t have to match the rally for excitement.

“If the government’s financial support packages have worked, and employment prospects remain strong, then a gentle long tail that avoids outright falls in prices over the medium term is still likely as we head towards the end of the year and into 2022.

“It’s worth noting that the annual growth readout for the previous month of March has also been revised down, which means it didn’t actually exceed the psychologically important 10% level after all. That said, the market is still overheating, despite a slight softening in the shadow of the original Stamp Duty holiday deadline.”

Lucy Pendleton, property expert at independent estate agents James Pendleton, comments: “We’re getting so used to growth rates this high that it’s easy to forget that they are actually as rare as hen’s teeth. First-time buyers will be hoping this star fades fast, and fade it must because the market is punching the top of the dial by historic standards.

“A dose of economic reality is going to start featuring in our lives over the next few months in a way that has been largely absent since early last year. The patient is going to be slowly weaned off the government support that has masked the brutal ructions that would otherwise have played havoc with jobs, house prices and the economy.

“That all begins at the end of the month with the tapering of not just Stamp Duty relief but the furlough scheme too. As it becomes clear how bullet proof the jobs market really is, we’ll get a better understanding of how the economy — on the cusp of fully unlocking — will endure this return to fiscal normality.

“London remains at the back of the pack but started from a higher base and could yet surprise with relatively strong growth as people start returning to the capital in greater numbers. London is likely to be more immune from any slowdown in growth later this year, as it hasn’t been performing the same kinds of heroics seen in other regions.”

Spring Budget announces Stamp Duty holiday extension

Published On: March 4, 2021 at 11:56 am

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Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced an extension to the Stamp Duty holiday in yesterday’s Budget announcement. It will now be available until the end of June.

Andy Sommerville, Director of Search Acumen, comments on the drawbacks of this extension: “(Yesterday’s) Stamp Duty extension is not just welcome news for thousands of homebuyers-in-waiting. Extending the Stamp Duty holiday is also a tonic for thousands of conveyancers who have been under pressure to complete due diligence on an industrial scale against a pressing deadline, and risking burnout at a time when businesses are still under Government instructions to work from home. 

“However, the Chancellor’s much-anticipated move simply defers rather than dodges the cliff-edge by putting it off until June. The Stamp Duty holiday has once again shown the flaws in traditional working practices and flagged the need to future-proof the property market with a data-driven approach to drive transactions through to completion. 

“Given the technology at our fingertips, no homebuyer in 2021 should have to wait for weeks at the back of a queue for due diligence to be completed. Neither should any conveyancer have to apologise to their clients for delays caused by a system clearly past its sell-by date. Innovations like our Data Snapshot tool are crucial to shifting the transaction process up a gear by providing instant access to risk data accompanied by insurance, to help buyers avoid being caught in the Stamp Duty crush in three months’ time.”

Dale Anderson, MD of Fabrik Invest, comments: “The Stamp Duty holiday extension is excellent news in terms of the keeping the market moving. However, we need to move forward with a note of caution, as false inflation keeping the market moving is far from ideal.

“Overall, I expect a short-term dip in prices in certain parts of the country – specifically the prime London and Manchester city centre markets. We’re likely to see home owners and investors looking for better value outside of these areas instead.

 Bryan Mansell, Co-Founder at Gazeal, comments: “The Chancellor’s Budget inevitably focused on extending much-needed support in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as we move through 2021, the Treasury’s focus is likely to turn to closing the spending gap caused by the health crisis.”

“The announcement of a three-month extension to the Stamp Duty holiday – and a higher tax threshold until September – will generate plenty of headlines as, according to Rightmove, it will facilitate an additional 300,000 transactions and £1.75 billion of savings.”

“Although it’s positive to see the Government listen to the views of agents and conveyancers on the coalface, as well as the property-buying public, more consideration should have been paid to calls for a more specific tapered end to the tax cut.”

“A three-month extension – and additional help until September – will be more effective than an additional six weeks, which was previously rumoured to be in the Chancellor’s plans. However, it still creates a cliff-edge so even though more buyers will benefit from Stamp Duty savings than previously thought, there will still be some who miss out.”

“A Stamp Duty-related boost, combined with the vaccine rollout as we move into spring and towards summer, means the market should be in good health over the coming months with agents able to complete existing transactions and build their future pipelines.”

“Once the Stamp Duty holiday comes to an end, it will be time for the market to move on. As we come out the other side of the pandemic, it would be pleasing to see the Government return to its pledge of improving the home buying and selling process through increased efficiency and transparency.”

“As accentuated by the Stamp Duty holiday rush, the current homemoving process is broken and struggles to cope with a high number of transactions.”

“Improving security for consumers, reducing the chance of fall-throughs and making the moving process more efficient would not only help buyers, sellers and agents, but more transactions going through would provide the Treasury with an increase in much-needed Stamp Duty revenue.”

“Meanwhile, news that the Government is launching a guarantee scheme to bring back 95% mortgages provides prospective buyers with a further boost.”

“Understandably, low-deposit lending has been affected badly by the pandemic. With the Government taking on some of the risk, more lenders should feel confident in providing finance to purchasers of property worth up to £600,000.”

“A new scheme designed to help people onto the housing ladder could see demand for homes increase. However, whether the required number of homes to meet rising demand will be available is doubtful as there remains a serious housing shortage in the UK.” 

“With this in mind, it’s disappointing that we are yet to hear more about how £20 billion pledged to support new housing last year, which includes a £7.1 billion National Home Building Fund, is being used to address this shortage.”

Stamp Duty holiday extension
Spring Budget announces Stamp Duty holiday extension

Craig Vile, Director of The ValPal Network, comments: “The Stamp Duty holiday extension is positive news for estate agents and consumers. A three-month extension – and additional support until September – is longer than most property professionals would have anticipated.”

“Additional completions as a result of the Stamp Duty holiday extension, which otherwise could have fallen through, provide agents with an opportunity to increase their commission levels over the next three months.”

“The general buzz around the property market can now continue as we move towards the traditionally busy spring/summer market. Moreover, the end of the Stamp Duty holiday should also now coincide with fewer COVID-19 restrictions and hopefully a return to something closer to normality.”

“There are, however, some concerns over the extension of the Stamp Duty holiday. Firstly, if there is no tapered end, thousands of buyers could miss out on tax savings and there could be a drop-off in market activity.”

“Secondly, there are concerns that the Stamp Duty holiday has artificially inflated property prices. Agents must therefore consider the impact another six months of Stamp Duty savings could have on average prices for the rest of the year.”

“In other housing news, it’s pleasing to see that Boris Johnson’s plans to help ‘Generation Rent’ become ‘Generation Buy’ are taking shape with the launch of the 95% mortgage guarantee scheme.”

“This scheme should help to provide another demand boost for agents. However, whether there will be enough supply to meet rising demand is another matter entirely.”

“As we hopefully move away from the COVID pandemic over the coming months, the Government needs to return its focus to addressing the UK’s housing supply shortage.”

Robert Nichols, CEO of Portico, comments: “The property purchase tax suspension for the first £500,000 of all property sales throughout England and Northern Ireland has been extended until the end of June, with the nil rate band of £250,000 – double its standard level – continuing until October 2021.

“The extension of the Stamp Duty holiday is welcome news, especially for the hopeful homebuyers who have been racing to complete this month. This news will make theirs and other new market entrants’ first purchases much more financially attractive, with big savings to be had. It may also incentivise older homeowners to downsize, which could free up some of the capital’s existing housing stock, as according to sources, nearly nine million bedrooms in the homes of older people are lying empty. 

“The success of Stamp Duty holiday thus far does magnify just how much the current form of property taxation inhibits buyers. Suspending this taxation is giving the sector some much needed momentum and makes entering the market a far more realistic dream for many hopeful homeowners.

“The important thing for buyers and sellers to do now is act fast. Three months may seem like a substantial amount of time, but with increased mortgage applications dragging through the system, loan delays could still increase the risk of transactions not completing in time. 

“So, don’t delay. Get moving on your plans quickly to prevent a stressful wait with a looming deadline and ensure that you maximise your potential savings without undue panic.”

House price growth slows to seven-year low, according to latest ONS report

Published On: December 19, 2019 at 9:43 am

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Categories: Property News

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The latest UK House Price Index from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has been released. UK house prices have shown a slight yearly increase, the lowest growth since September 2012.

The main points of the report include:

  • UK average house prices increased by 0.7% over the year to October 2019 to £233,000.
  • Average house prices increased over the year in England, to £249,000 (0.5%); in Wales, to £166,000 (3.3%); in Scotland, to £154,000 (1.4%); and in Northern Ireland, to £140,000 (4.0%).
  • The annual increase in England was driven by Yorkshire and The Humber (3.2%).
  • The lowest annual growth rate was in London (negative 1.6%), followed by the North East (negative 1.1%).

Andrew Southern, chairman of property developer Southern Grove, has shared his comments: “This is the first house price index since the election and it’s time to say farewell to a read-out that has been wracked by indecision and self-doubt for too long.

“The UK HPI has the longest lead time of all the indices and Boris Johnson has taken his boot and stamped a use-by date all over the Land Registry’s dial.

“You can expect the market to start deciding which way it really wants to move now and that new direction will show itself even more in the New Year. 

“One near certainty is that transaction volumes should start to recover, though first-time buyers may be a little afraid that prices could begin to advance again in tandem. 

“The basic equation here is that, with the exception of first-time buyers, there won’t be anyone sensible in the property world who won’t welcome the injection of certainty that the election has delivered, no matter what your political persuasion.

“Even they would do well to remember the effect so much uncertainty has had already on house building, trimming developers’ forecasts and, with it, their risk appetites. Seeing the back of that is just as important to today’s young.”

Andy Sommerville, Director at Search Acumen, comments: “Where there is growth there is life. And although we haven’t seen much in the way of house price growth, today’s statistics show life is returning to the housing market – particularly in areas outside of the Capital.

“These latest ONS statistics are from October and we expect to see an even greater uplift at the end of the quarter, particularly following the recent election. The stock market rally we have just witnessed and a majority government drawing a line under Brexit uncertainty could be the shot the housing market needs to get back to health.

“However, we must not be complacent – more of the same “wait and see” approach would jeopardise the recovery. Instead the Government and private firms needs to be forthright in their commitment to supporting smart solutions to advance the digitalisation of the property industry. Unleashing Britain’s potential needs more than fine words. It requires breaking down the barriers to data accessibility and investment.”

John Goodall, CEO and Co-founder of buy-to-let specialist Landbay, said: “Though another set of poor growth figures is disappointing and a seven year low is certainly cause for concern, now is the time to look to the future. Boris Johnson’s election victory should pave the way for a stronger UK economy, and thus a healthier housing market, as we break away from political ambiguity. 

“The ‘Boris bounce’ is expected to put an end to the recent stalemate in the property market, offering confidence to buyers and sellers alike to make a move. Demand has been humbled by instability, so 2020 should bring an early ‘spring bounce’ as those who have sat on their hands are spurred into action.”

Lucy Pendleton, founder-director of independent estate agents James Pendleton, comments: “The spinning compass of uncertainty and doubt have been dislodged by the north star of a new PM, and the market has reacted immediately. 

“As a result, the tired and frustrated reality that is still faintly visible in this Land Registry report reflects a status quo that is already a distant memory. 

“Not yet visible is the Boris bounce in house prices we all sense is already well underway. The UK house price index has well and truly been overtaken by events. 

“The index will now spend the next two months going through the motions while it catches up with history. Meanwhile, there’s every sign on the high street that buyers and sellers are returning to the fold. 

“The UK is certainly experiencing a resurgence in activity but we won’t know for a couple of months whether, on balance, this will begin to push prices higher or whether greater supply will have a moderating influence while brokers and agents enjoy a pick-up in volumes.  

“New enquiries for property picked up the day of the election result and foreign buyers are matching their domestic counterparts for renewed enthusiasm.”

Shaun Church, Director at Private Finance has said: “House price growth has almost ground to a halt, with the lowest annual increase in prices seen in more than seven years. 

“A slump in demand due to a wait-and-see approach in response to Brexit has stifled housing market activity throughout the year, with this having a direct impact on house prices. Though less comforting for homeowners looking to see a return on their investment, buyers will benefit from this long-awaited improvement in housing affordability.

“However, the property market could well be entering a new, more active phase of growth. Post-election, a degree of certainty has been injected back into the national psyche, and a release of pent-up property demand is expected as a result. 

“Those looking to make a move in the New Year should act quickly to snap up cut-price properties while they’re still around. Buyers should also consider locking into today’s record-low mortgage rates to guarantee affordable repayments for the foreseeable future, as these, too, aren’t guaranteed to last forever.”

Conveyancing transactions down by 16%

Published On: June 8, 2015 at 10:55 am

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Data released today has showed that conveyancing transactions slowed during the first quarter of 2015.

Figures from Search Acumen indicate that transactions fell by 16% during the first period of the year, in comparison to the final quarter of 2014. The introduction of measures to increase regulation, combined with election uncertainty, also led to a 5% fall in activity volumes.[1]

Decline

The results from Search Acumen also show that the level of transactions has dropped at a greater rate than the number of firms in the market on a monthly and year-on-year basis. With competition becoming greater, the average conveyancing firm recorded 57 transactions during the first three months of 2015, down 14% from 67 in the final quarter of this year.[1]

Comparatively, the number of conveyancing firms that were registered in the market fell during quarter one of this year, down to 4,177 firms from 4,259 in quarter four of 2014. This was also 4% less than the 4,330 registered as active in the first three months of last year.[1]

However, dealing applications, which include transfers or title, charges or notices, were up in the first period of this year. These types of application totalled 204,860, up a substantial 63% from the 125,421 recorded at the same period twelve months ago.[1]

Conveyancing transactions down by 16%

Conveyancing transactions down by 16%

Competitive pressure

Mark Riddick, Chairman of Search Acumen, observed that, ‘the fact that larger conveyancing firms have been impacted most by the slow start to 2015 is a clear sign that no-one is immune to competitive pressures in a temperamental housing market.’ He feels that a fall in transactions during the first period of this year was perhaps an, ‘inevitable result of stricter lending criteria and pre-election uncertainty.’ However, Riddick believes that, ‘conveyancers can take some comfort from the fact that the average firm is still clocking up considerably more transactions than they were two or three years ago.’[1]

Looking to the future, Riddick feels that the, ‘quick transaction from Coalition to Conservative governments will help to avoid the market disruption that might have come from weeks of post-election party negotiations.’ He thinks that,’ there is still real need for major supply side policies to create more movement in the property market.’ On a more positive note, he went on to suggest that, ‘factors such as negative inflation, low mortgage pricing and the improving outlooks for jobs should help to boost activity this year.’[1]

Riddick concluded by stating that, ‘all the same, our analysis clearly shows that conveyancing firms cannot simply rely on there being more customers to go round if they want to maintain and grow their own volumes. At the start of the year, they reported that improving systems and processes was the biggest challenge to growing their business. Fierce competition means there is no room for operational inefficiencies and no time for any firm to take their eye off the ball if they want to hit – or exceed – their 2015 targets.’[1]

 

[1] http://www.propertyreporter.co.uk/features/conveyancing-transactions-dr0p-16.html