Home owners in London most confident about house price growth

Households across the UK perceived that the value of their home rose in December, led by those in London while households in the North East reported no change in prices.

Some 11.1% of individuals said they plan to buy a house within the next two years, but this was down from a 12 month average of 12.8% according to the House Price Sentiment Index (HPSI) from Knight Frank and Markit Economics.

December’s reading was a slight increase from the 58.7 recorded in November and was higher than the average reading of 58.5 recorded across 2015. However, it remained below the peak of 63.2 achieved in May last year, reflecting the more modest house price growth seen across the country over the last 12 months.

The future HPSI, which measures what households think will happen to the value of their property over the next year, was unchanged in December compared to the previous month. An index reading of 70.3 was the joint second highest of the year.

Households in 10 of the eleven regions covered by the index reported that prices rose in December, led by households in London at 68.7. In the North East a reading of 50 and households perceived no change in prices over the course of the month. This is only the third time that a region within Great Britain has reported no change or a fall in prices since August 2013.

There are a number of regional differences in expectations for price growth with households in London at 77.9, the South East at 76.7 and the East of England at 74.5 the most confident that prices will rise over the next 12 months. Mortgage borrowers were the most confident that prices will rise over the next year at 76.1, followed by those who own their home outright at 74.9.

‘The localised nature of the housing market is highlighted in the index, with the regional difference between households’ perceptions of house price changes in December at its greatest for nearly 18 months. This regionalised picture is expected to continue next year, with households’ in London expecting the strongest growth in prices in 2016,’ said Gráinne Gilmore, head of UK residential research at Knight Frank.

‘The supply of housing coming onto the market has dipped to record lows in recent months – affecting the ability of families to move up and down the housing ladder. The survey suggests this trend is also set to continue, with a lack of available housing also likely to continue to underpin pricing in many areas,’ she added.

According to Tim Moore, a senior economist at Markit, UK households seem to anticipate little fundamental change in prevailing supply and demand dynamics over the course of 2016. He pointed out that buoyant forecasts were reported for property values over the next 12 months, with expectations at a remarkably similar level to those seen at the end of 2013 and 2014.

‘At the same time, the proportion of UK households expecting to purchase a property over the short to medium term has drifted down again in December, reaching its lowest since at least the spring of 2014,’ said Moore.

‘Existing mortgage holders and owners opting to stay put are among those driving the trend. As a result, the survey provides an advance signal that the flow of property coming on to the market will remain depleted in 2016, which in some areas could amplify the supply squeeze from stunted house building levels and historically insufficient new build volumes,’ he added.