House prices accelerate for first time in eight months

New figures reveal that average UK property prices rose by 6% in the three months to November, when compared to the same period in 2015, bringing the cost of an average home to £218,002.

According to the latest figures published by the Halifax, house prices increased by 0.2% on a monthly basis and by 0.8% on a quarterly basis.

However, some commentators believe that these latest figures mask a different longer-term downward trend, referring to 10% peak in annual house price growth in March and the 3% quarterly growth in February.

Martin Ellis, housing economist for Halifax said:

“Despite November’s pick-up, heightened affordability pressures, resulting from a sustained period of house price growth in excess of earnings rises, appear to have dampened housing demand, contributing to the slowdown in house price inflation.

“Very low mortgage rates and an ongoing, and acute, shortage of properties available for sale should help support price levels although annual house price growth may slow over the coming months.”

Confidence in the UK housing market was also found by the Halifax to be at its lowest point in three years. Yet, when quizzed on house prices and whether they expect them to be higher in a year’s time, only 15% of those surveyed said they expected a lower average price.

Ian Thomas, co-founder and director LendInvest, said,

“While the property market has proven resilient over recent months, underpinned by a continued demand for homes of all types, growth in the coming months is likely to be limited by a lack of buyer affordability and uncertainty around the outcome of Brexit negotiations.”

“As house price growth slows, the UK faces a hard task in addressing the chronic shortage of housing. In the Autumn Statement the Treasury missed an opportunity to improve confidence in the market by revising Stamp Duty changes brought in earlier this year. Looking forward, government should consider measures of this kind to improve the supply of new homes and confidence in the market.”

The volume of mortgage approvals has remained flat in the three months to October, according to the Bank of England, unchanged from the preceding quarter. Availability of homes for sale fell in October, however, and housing stock is now at lowest ever recorded level.

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