House prices

UK house price growth 'has slowed back to pedestrian'

House prices in the UK fell by 1.4% in September compared with the previous month, according to new figures.

The latest Halifax house price index has reported that the average house price in the UK now stands at £225,995 (August: £229,284). 

However, between July and September, house prices were 1.8% higher than between April and June, while prices were up 2.5% in the three months to September compared with the same period last year.

“…We are seeing a steadying in house price inflation across these more stable measures,” said Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax. 

“This is set among mortgage approvals and completed house sales remaining broadly unchanged, although a gradual pick-up in wage growth has helped to support household finances.”

Jonathan Hopper, managing director at Garrington Property Finders, felt that while the month-on-month fall looked alarming, the measure was notoriously volatile. 

“When you’re running on empty, the fuel gauge can flicker wildly – and that’s what’s happening here as a market that’s starved of supply tries and fails to maintain a steady speed.

“Of greater significance is the drop in the annual pace of price growth which, after two briskish months, has slowed back to pedestrian.

“Yet another speed bump for a property market that has struggled to get out of second gear all year.”

Lucy Pendleton, founder-director at James Pendleton, felt the sharp monthly drop stood out because of its timing.

“September is a month that normally sees a burst of activity as people return from holiday and go back to work. 

“So, a fall of this scale is quite a retreat at a time when increased competition among those racing to move by Christmas would normally give the market a bit of buoyancy.”

Jonathan Samuels, CEO at Octane Capital, added: “While one month isn’t a fair snapshot of the market, the relatively sharp drop-off in the annual growth rate is a reminder of how febrile conditions remain.

“For now, a strong jobs market, low borrowing rates and a lack of stock are negating high living costs, interest rate uncertainty and Brexit concerns to keep the market in the black.

"The last quarter of 2018 is likely to be as uneventful as the previous three.

“We can only hope that the remaining months of 2018 are not the quiet before the 2019 storm.”

Chris Taylor, managing director at Regency Residential, concluded that fluctuating sales volumes mirrored the overall sentiment among British consumers.

“…While the market is showing signs of resilience, it’s clear that until current external pressures are concluded, and consumer confidence increases, the UK housing market is likely to remain steady at best.”

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