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Flat house prices propped up by lack of supply: UK HPI

Rozi Jones
16th January 2018
House sale sign sold
"There's not a huge amount of energy in the UK property market at present, but prices are being propped up by the sheer lack of supply"

Average house prices increased by just 0.1% between October and November, according to the latest UK House Price Index.

Prices rose by 5.1% in the year to November 2017, down from 5.4% in October 2017. The Index shows that the annual growth rate has slowed since mid-2016 but has remained broadly around 5% during 2017.

The main contribution to the increase in UK house prices came from England, where house prices increased by 5.3% over the year to November 2017, with the average price in England now £243,000.

Wales saw house prices increase by 4.5% over the last 12 months to stand at £153,000. Annual prices rose by 4.5% in Wales, 3.6% in Scotland, and 6% in Northern Ireland.

The West Midlands was the region with the highest annual growth, with prices increasing by 7.2% in the year to November 2017. This was followed by the East Midlands (6.4%) and the North West and South West (6.2%).

The lowest annual growth was in London and the North East, where prices increased by 2.3% over the year, followed by Yorkshire and The Humber at 3.0%.

Jonathan Samuels, CEO of Octane Capital, said: "There's not a huge amount of energy in the UK property market at present, but prices are being propped up by the sheer lack of supply. With all the uncertainty stemming from Brexit, and the high cost of living, it's no surprise the market is hobbling along.
"2018 is shaping up to be a fairly uneventful year, with any price movement likely to be sidewards. But given the affordability crisis across the country, many will see the stagnant market as a positive. London in particular will continue to pay for the excessive price growth of recent years."
Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and former RICS residential chairman, commented: "These figures confirm what we are seeing on the ground - prices and transactions may be fairly flat but there are no signs of significant corrections in the housing market. While it is still early days, so far this year we have already seen considerable pent-up demand for properties - not necessarily resulting in offers but certainly plenty of interest from buyers who have their finance lined up and are keen to find more realistically-priced properties.

"Encouragingly, there is plenty of interest from first-time buyers who are keen to take advantage of the stamp duty changes announced in the Budget."

Founder and CEO of Emoov, Russell Quirk, added: "Although house prices are still up annually, a combination of seasonality and a subdued level of buyer interest has resulted in the market running lower on steam compared to previous months.  

"There are swathes of the UK market that will have seen the value of their property fall or at least plateau over the last year, particularly those at the top end of the market and across the capital’s more prestigious boroughs. However, the market has been propped up for the large part by the UK’s more affordable areas where the marginal reduction in property values has done little to deter the everyday buyer and seller.

"While many have been quick to predict doom and gloom scenarios as a result of slower market conditions, these predictions are perhaps a tad overstated and this gradual, more natural adjustment to the UK market is far more palatable than another market crash.

"A reduced pace of price growth will no doubt be welcomed by those priced out of homeownership, but these slower market conditions aren’t enough to address the wider issue of affordability, or indeed the severe lack of housing stock.

"With a heightened level of buyer interest already returning to the market in 2018, it is likely that an air of stability will soon follow and the lack of housing stock to satisfy this demand will raise the bar of unaffordability even further.”

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