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House price inflation 'steadies' at 1.8%: Halifax

Rozi Jones
5th October 2018
pound coins money scales balance house prices
"Mortgage approvals and completed house sales remaining broadly unchanged, although a gradual pickup in wage growth has helped to support household finances."

The quarterly rate of growth has remained steady at 1.8% for the second month in a row, according to the latest Halifax house price index.

House prices in the three months to September were 2.5% higher than in the same three months a year earlier, however this annual growth rate slowed from the 3.7% recorded in August.

On a monthly basis, house prices fell by 1.4% in September, the second consecutive fall for this measure.

Russell Galley, managing director, Halifax, said: “With the annual rate of house price growth easing to 2.5% in September from 3.7% in August and the quarterly rate of growth remaining at 1.8% for the second month, we are seeing a steadying in house price inflation across these more stable measures.

“This is set amongst mortgage approvals and completed house sales remaining broadly unchanged, although a gradual pickup in wage growth has helped to support household finances.

“The annual rate of growth is near the top of our forecast range of 0-3% for 2018, as a low supply of new homes and existing properties for sale, combined with historically low mortgage rates and a high employment rate, continue to support house prices.”

Chris Taylor, managing director of Regency Residential, commented: “Fluctuating sales volumes mirror the overall sentiment among British consumers, who are uncertain about the future, politically, socially and economically. And 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."

Jonathan Harris, director of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, added: "The average property price may be stable but this masks significant regional variations. Deals are falling out of bed as buyers become increasingly jittery over Brexit and the very real prospect of a Corbyn government, with some of those who don’t have to move now deciding to take a ‘wait and see’ approach instead.

"For those who are willing to get on with it, there are deals to be done, as long as sellers are prepared to be realistic on price. Mortgage lenders are keen to have a brisk autumn, resulting in some competitive fixed-rate products in particular."

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and former RICS residential chairman, concluded: "Results from the country’s largest lender, as a snapshot for the health or otherwise of the housing market, always deserve attention. After last month’s rather mixed bag, there is still no clear direction with house price growth continuing to slow. Sluggish transactional activity is bad for the property market but much worse for the economy.

"On the ground, sellers have not shrugged off Brexit concerns to put their properties on the market to sell in sufficient numbers to make a difference. However, buyer interest has improved in what remains more of a needs-driven market since people return from a protracted summer break."

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