UK housing market

UK housing market 'far from teetering on the edge'



House prices have increased by 3.7% in the three months to August, compared with the same period in 2017, according to new research.

The latest Halifax house price index has revealed that the average house price of £229,958 saw little change from the previous month.

On a monthly basis, growth was marginal, but still positive at 0.1% in August, while prices in the latest quarter (June-August) were up 1.9%, compared with the previous quarter.

The number of first-time buyers increased by around 3% in the first six months of 2018 to 175,500, compared with 171,200 in the same period in 2017.

“House prices picked up in August, with the annual rate of growth rising from 3.3% in July to 3.7%,” said Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax.

“With the average house price now £229,958, prices in the three months to August were also 1.9% higher than in the previous quarter.

“While the pace of employment growth has recently slowed, a low unemployment rate and a gradual pick-up in wage growth are helping to support household finances.

“This has been accompanied by interest rates still remaining at a historically low rate and a stable, yet constrained, supply of new homes on to the market further supporting house prices.”

James Newbery, investment manager at British Pearl, said: “These figures prove that the market is far from teetering on the edge and continues to weather the storm of pre-Brexit uncertainty, as the number of first-time buyers more than doubles since a record low in the first half of 2009.

“Investors are holding steadfast and are taking advantage of a market underpinned by a lack of stock, growing household incomes and a solid labour market.”

Ewen Bunting, head of sales at James Pendleton, felt that robust annual growth was a sure sign the housing market’s iron lung of low supply was at play here.

“The number of homes for sale just can’t muster the strength to get off the pavement and into the lobby, let alone the lifts.

“It doesn’t matter that affordability for most is pushing the limits of common sense, when borrowing is dirt cheap, people still need to move and are still climbing over each other to do so in some instances.”

Alex Depledge, founder and CEO at Resi.co.uk, said that with house prices remaining high, the market continued to be driven by a lack of supply.

“This is only fuelled further by rising construction costs, concerns over a diminishing workforce following Brexit and uncertainty around how the deal will impact the housing market, particularly in London.”

Sam Mitchell, CEO at Housesimple.com, concluded: “The end-of-summer report is that the property market is in better health than the doom-mongers have led us to believe.

"A persistent supply shortage and low interest rates may be helping to support property prices, but we don't have one foot over the abyss just yet.

"The danger of constantly talking down the property market is that we will talk the market into a crash, particularly if we focus too much on what's happening in London.”


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