House price growth is weak­est for six years

Western Daily Press (Saturday) - - Uk & World News - VICKY SHAW

THE brakes have been slammed on an­nual house price growth, which has slowed down sharply to the weak­est rate seen in six years, ac­cord­ing to an in­dex.

Across the UK, prop­erty val­ues in­creased by 0.3 per cent an­nu­ally in Novem­ber, fol­low­ing a 1.5 per cent an­nual up­lift in Oc­to­ber, Hal­i­fax said.

The an­nual in­crease in Novem­ber marked the low­est growth since De­cem­ber 2012, the bank added.

The av­er­age house price is now £224,578.

House prices tum­bled by 1.4 per cent month on month in Novem­ber, wip­ing out a 0.7 per cent in­crease seen the pre­vi­ous month.

Hal­i­fax said house prices have now fallen for three months out of the past four, on a month-on-month ba­sis.

Rus­sell Gal­ley, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, Hal­i­fax, said: “House price growth has slowed as we ap­proach the end of the year, fall­ing from 1.5 per cent in Oc­to­ber to 0.3 per cent in Novem­ber, with the av­er­age cost of a home now £224,578.

“While this is the low­est rate of growth in six years, it re­mains within our fore­cast range of 0 per cent to 3 per cent for 2018. High em­ploy­ment, wage growth and his­tor­i­cally low mort­gage rates con­tinue to make home own­er­ship more af­ford­able for many, though the need to raise a sig­nif­i­cant deposit still acts as some­thing of a re­straint on the mar­ket.

“This is largely off­set by a rel­a­tively lim­ited sup­ply of new and ex­ist­ing prop­er­ties for sale, which con­tin­ues to sus­tain house prices na­tion­ally.”

Mike Scott, chief prop­erty an­a­lyst at es­tate agent Yopa, said Hal­i­fax’s fig­ures sug­gest “that the usual Christ­mas slow­down in the hous­ing mar­ket has started early this year, as peo­ple wait for the out­come of the cur­rent po­lit­i­cal tur­moil be­fore mak­ing long-term com­mit­ments, such as buy­ing a new home”.

Howard Archer, chief eco­nomic ad­viser at EY Item Club, said: “We sus­pect that the hous­ing mar­ket will be rel­a­tively lack­lus­tre over the com­ing months – al­though there are vary­ing per­for­mances across re­gions with the over­all na­tional pic­ture dragged down by the poor per­for­mance in Lon­don and parts of the South East. Con­se­quently, we ex­pect over­all house price gains across the UK over 2019 will be lim­ited to around 2 per cent.”

Lucy Pendle­ton, founder di­rec­tor of es­tate agents James Pendle­ton, said: “This is less about Brexit, than it is about the nat­u­ral cy­cle of any mar­ket that has seen strong ad­vances.

“It comes down to af­ford­abil­ity, not pol­i­tics.”

Mark Harris, chief ex­ec­u­tive of mort­gage bro­ker SPF Pri­vate Clients, said: “Lenders re­main in­cred­i­bly keen to lend and that is a consistent mes­sage we are get­ting from all of them – they want to do more.

“Some are do­ing this by top­ping the ‘best buy’ ta­bles with some very com­pet­i­tive rates, such as five-year fixes from less than 2 per cent.

“But not all can com­pete on rate, de­pend­ing on how they are funded, so oth­ers are look­ing at in­creased in­no­va­tion – tak­ing one year’s ac­counts for self-em­ployed bor­row­ers, tweak­ing loan-to-val­ues, or be­com­ing more com­pet­i­tive when it comes to lend­ing at 95 per cent loanto-value.

“This is all good news for bor­row­ers.”

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