Annual house price growth at is lowest since April 2013
Annual house price growth slowed to 1.1% in the 12 months to September to an average of £232,574, the latest lender index shows.
Month on month prices were down 0.4% and on a quarterly basis they were up by 0.4%, according to the data published by the Halifax.
Russell Galley, managing director of the Halifax, said that whilst this is lowest level of growth since April 2013, it remains in keeping with the predominantly flat trend seen in recent months.
‘Underlying market indicators, including completed sales and mortgages approvals, continue to be broadly stable. Meanwhile for buyers, important affordability measures, such as wage growth and interest rates, still look favourable,’ he explained.
‘Looking ahead, we expect activity levels and price growth to remain subdued while the current period of economic uncertainty persists,’ he added.
Jonathan Hopper, managing director of Garrington Property Finders, believes that the current balancing act can only continue so long. ‘The combination of thin supply and stoic demand has propped up prices for much of the past year, but that plodding inertia is becoming increasingly untenable,’ he said.
‘At a national level, property prices are now growing at their slowest rate for six and half years as both sellers and buyers recalibrate and try to second guess what might be coming next for house prices and for the economy as a whole,’ he pointed out.
‘Yet for all the uncertainty, the market continues to thrive in pockets where buyers detect strong value, especially prime locations in London and the South East, where prices have fallen sharply and sellers are regularly being forced to accept offers 25% or more below their original guide price,’ he explained.
‘Tactical buyers are seizing on this fragility and pressing home their advantage to negotiate big discounts. At the other end of the scale, more cautious buyers are battening down the hatches and waiting for the skies to clear,’ he added.
‘While the past three years have seen the market perform a slow and soft landing, its current inertia is merely a holding pattern. Depending on what the coming weeks bring, it could either snap back into a relief rally or slow further,’ he concluded.
Transaction numbers are low so lenders are having to work incredibly hard to generate business and stand out from the competition, according to Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients.
‘This means even further cutting of fixed rate mortgages, while those lenders who can’t compete on price are having to tweak criteria and be more flexible than perhaps they might have been in the past,’ he explained.
‘This is excellent news for borrowers and once buyers return to the market, when the uncertainty is removed from the equation, there are some extremely competitive products for them to take advantage of,’ he added.
Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, believes that the market is still proving to be more resilient than we dared hope in view of expected in the face of the continuing political uncertainties.
‘Buyers, particularly of larger flats and smaller houses, are taking advantage of rock bottom mortgage rates and improving affordability by looking beyond Brexit and taking a longer term view,’ he said.
‘This is certainly what we are finding at the coalface too and increasingly hearing of a determination among buyers and sellers to find middle ground on pricing, which still represents value to both,’ he added.