What's Inhibiting the Housing Market?

According to figures from Halifax, house price growth across the UK has is growing at the lowest rate in five years, leaving sale prices as broadly flat.

A fall of 0.7% was registered when comparing the December to February period with the previous three months. However, over the December to February period, annual growth of 1.8% higher than the same period in 2017 was registered. This was a drop from the 2.2% increase recorded in January 2018 however.

£226,408 was the average sale price recorded in November last year, this has dropped to £224,353 in February this year.

Russell Galley of Halifax says that:

"The annual rate of growth has slowed from 2.2pc in January to 1.8pc in February, the lowest rate of growth since March 2013.

"While we expect price growth to remain low, the low mortgage rate environment, combined with an ongoing shortage of properties for sale, should continue to support house prices over the coming months.”

This assessment is backed up by Nationwide, which in a report released last week said that we could see some "tough months ahead" before conditions normalise.  

Halifax asserts that the lack of exuberance in the market was "consistent with signs of softening in the household sector in recent months".

Buyer interest in properties is also falling, and has been for 10 months:

"The lack of new instructions coming to market continues to impede activity and new instructions have now fallen for 23 consecutive months – the worst sequence since 2007-9,"

Jonathan Samuels of Octane capital agrees with the assessments above:

"Like the Nationwide last week, the Halifax has singled out the cost of living and sluggish wage growth as arguably the key drag on the market.

"It's very clear that the financial squeeze on households is impacting demand and, as a result, applying downward pressure on property prices.

"It's hard to see the market picking up until there is clarity on the outcome of Brexit and inflation relaxes its grip on household finances."

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