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Sunday 22 July 2018

UK house price growth slows to five year low

London was the only area where house prices are lower than a year ago - following a trend also seen in the first quarter of 2018 Stock photo: GETTY
London was the only area where house prices are lower than a year ago - following a trend also seen in the first quarter of 2018 Stock photo: GETTY

Vicky Shaw

The average house price in the UK has topped £215,000 for the first time - but annual growth in property values has slowed to a five-year low - according to an index.

Across the UK, the typical house price in June stood at a new record high of £215,444, up 0.5pc month on month, Nationwide Building Society said.

House prices are 2pc higher than a year ago.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide's chief economist, said: "Annual house price growth fell to its slowest pace for five years in June. However, at 2pc, this was only modestly below the 2.4pc recorded the previous month."

Regionally, in the second quarter of this year, London was the only area where house prices are lower than a year ago - following a trend also seen in the first quarter of 2018.

In the second quarter, house prices in London stood at £468,845 on average - a 1.9pc annual fall.

Despite the downward price movement in London, house prices there are still more than 50pc above their 2007 peak.

By comparison, house prices in the UK generally are 15pc higher, Nationwide said.

The East Midlands had the strongest annual house price growth in the second quarter, with prices up by 4.4pc, followed by the West Midlands, which saw a 4.3pc increase, and Wales with a 4pc uplift.

In Scotland, house prices were 3.1pc higher than a year earlier, while in Northern Ireland they have seen a 2.1pc increase.

Mr Gardner continued: "Subdued economic activity and ongoing pressure on household budgets is likely to continue to exert a modest drag on housing market activity and house price growth this year, though borrowing costs are likely to remain low.

"Overall, we continue to expect house prices to rise by around 1pc over the course of 2018."

Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said: "Tight supply, a healthy labour market and a continued lengthening of mortgage terms - 30-year loans now are common - will help to prevent prices from falling outright.

"But it is inevitable that house prices will grow at a slower rate than households' incomes during a period of rising mortgage rates."

He continued: "We expect the official measure of house prices to rise by just 1.5pc over the course of 2018 and a mere 2pc over 2019."

Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent and a former residential chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics), said: "On the one hand, the squeeze on incomes and unrealistic asking prices is reducing activity and confidence to move, particularly in price-sensitive areas such as London.

"On the other hand, the market continues to be supported by low interest rates and overall supply shortages, although we have found recently that listings and viewings are on the rise. This will translate into more sales if buyers and sellers recognise the new market realities."

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