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House prices up 5.2% in 12 months to May 2019, lender data shows

House prices in the UK increased by 5.2% in the 12 months to May 2019, the highest annual growth for a year, taking the average to £237,837, the latest lender index shows.

The data from the Halifax also shows that month on month prices increased by 0.5% and on a quarterly basis they were 2.5% higher. But managing director Russell Galley warned that the market is seeing stability as the annual figures should be seen against a backdrop of low growth rates compared with 2018.

‘We saw a slight increase in house prices between April and May, but the overall message is one of stability. Despite the ongoing political and economic uncertainty, underlying conditions in the broader economy continue to underpin the housing market, particularly the twin factors of high employment and low interest rates,’ he said.

‘This is supported by industry wide figures which suggest no real change in the number of homes being sold month to month, while Bank of England data show the number of mortgages being approved rose by almost 6% in April, reversing the softness seen in the previous month,’ he pointed out.

‘While current conditions may help those looking to make their first move onto the property ladder, existing home owners will doubtless be considering long term house price growth which continues to look subdued in comparison to recent years,’ he added.

‘Looking ahead, we expect the current trend of stability based on high employment and low interest rates to persist over the coming months, though clearly any downturn in the wider economy would be keenly felt in the housing market,’ Galley concluded.

Marc von Grundherr, director of agents Benham and Reeves, believes that there is a lot of positives in the market right now. ‘High employment and steady wage growth are bringing an overarching air of stability to the market, subdued house price growth and low interest rates are giving first time buyers an additional leg up,’ he said.

‘But we’ve also seen the largest rate of annual house price growth in the last year which is positive for existing home owners,’ he added.

There are signs of recovery and confidence, according to Tomer Aboody, director of property lender MT Finance. ‘Buyers have come to the conclusion that enough is enough, and the uncertain conditions which have been facing them could carry on for a while still, so that shouldn’t hold them back from getting on the ladder or moving up or down it,’ he said.

‘Fewer homes are on the market since sellers feel that they either don’t have to sell when values are still down on 2016 or with the stamp duty levels being so high they can’t afford the step up so are staying put for now. We don’t see this changing anytime soon,’ he added.