House Price Growth slowed in the UK in April 2016, according to Halifax, following the stampede of activity in March.
Buyers and investors raced to complete sales in March before the 1st April deadline arrived for the new stamp duty surcharge on second home purchases, fuelling growth in both mortgage lending and property values. The morning after, though, the market suffered the inevitable slowdown, with price growth easing.
House prices fell by 0.8 per Cent between March and April, according to Halifax’s latest House Price Index, to an average of £212,321. This, combined with February’s 1.5 per cent fall, offset March’s 2.2 per cent gain.
On a quarterly basis, house prices in the three months to April of 2016 were 1.5 per cent higher than in the preceding three months (November 2015-January 2016), but this was half March’s 2.9 per cent growth and the smallest quarterly increase since November 2015. Year-on-year. prices in the three months to April were 9.2 per cent higher than in the same three months in 2015, but this was below March’s 10.1 per cent and, again, the smallest annual increase since November 2015.
“The frothy exuberance of March now seems a distant memory, as the market returns to normality with a bump,” says Jonathan Hopper, managing director of the buying agents Garrington Property Finders.
“Starved of the stamp duty stimulus, double-digit annual price rises are unlikely to return any time soon. However the sudden cooling of the market may mark an opportunity for buyers, as some sellers are being forced to reassess their overly ambitious asking prices.
“For the first time in more than a year, we’re seeing many mid-range properties in the most desirable locations selling for below asking price – hinting that the power dynamic is shifting from a seller’s to a buyer’s market.”
Confidence in the UK housing market is at its lowest level in over a year, according to the latest quarterly Halifax Housing Market Confidence Tracker. The latest fall continues the downward trend since a high point in May 2015, and comes as consumers feel increasingly uncertain about the wider economy, says the lender.
Nonetheless, the majority of homeowners and industry professionals expect house price growth to continue in the future.
“Current market conditions remain very tight as the severe imbalance between supply and demand persists. This situation, combined with low interest rates and rising employment and real earnings, should continue to push house prices up over the coming months, comments Martin Ellis, Halifax housing economist.
“With demand still strong and supply still chronically low, the net effect is likely to be a gradual return to more normal rates of price growth rather than a serious slowdown,” agrees Hopper.
UK house prices weaken as winter arrives
9th December 2015
House prices weakened as winter settled in the UK, according to Halifax. The lender’s latest report, one of the key indicators of the market’s performance, shows that the country’s property values bucked the overall trend by dipping last month.
Values slipped down 0.2 per cent month-on-month, taking the average house price to £204,522. This marked a 9 per cent growth year-on-year, down from October’s 9.7 per cent annual increase. Indeed, even the quarterly figures saw the market slow down, with prices in the three months to November 2015 1.4 per cent higher than the preceding three months (June to August 2015), half of October’s 2.8 per cent quarterly rise and the smallest rise on this measure since December 2014.
The figures herald a change of pace after a year in which sales and prices have begun to rise again, following a period of uncertainty, both political and financial.
“Solid economic growth, rising real earnings and falls in already very low mortgage rates have combined to stimulate housing demand this year,” comments Halifax’s Housing Economist, Martin Ellis.
The lack of supply, though, remains a long-term problem, despite the short-term correction.
“The increasingly acute imbalance between supply and demand is causing prices to rise at a robust pace,” he adds. “A situation that is unlikely to reverse significantly in the short-term.”