Nationwide – House prices remain static in August
Annual house price growth remained subdued at 0.6% in August, slightly higher than the 0.3% growth recorded in July, according to the latest Nationwide house price index.
The data shows that prices remained unchanged month-on-month, after taking account of seasonal factors.
Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s Chief Economist, said: “Annual house price growth remained below 1% for the ninth month in a row in August, at 0.6%. While house price growth has remained fairly stable, there have been mixed signals from the property market in recent months.
“Surveyors report that new buyer enquiries have increased a little, though key consumer confidence indicators remain subdued. Data on the number of property transactions points to a slowdown in activity, though the number of mortgages approved for house purchase has remained broadly stable.
“Housing market trends will remain heavily dependent on developments in the broader economy. In the near term, healthy labour market conditions and low borrowing costs will provide underlying support, though uncertainty is likely to continue to exert a drag on sentiment and activity.”
Lucy Pendleton, founder and director of independent estate agents James Pendleton, commented: “The property market remains in a state best described as stasis and for a good 15 months now, buyer behaviour has been characterised by a good deal of tyre kicking.
“Evidence of this can be seen in the woeful transactions figures of late. However, that’s not to say that buyers have retreated entirely. They are still looking. In fact, buyers are still all over the property portals like a rash but they just aren’t pulling the trigger.
“The pace of the market is extremely slow and in London more expensive properties are being hit hardest.
“The market has washed up where it is with a growth rate that makes European Commission meetings look thrilling because of inaction, not some hard fought war of attrition between buyers and sellers over fair value.
“The willingness of some vendors to discount continues to be frequently undone by the reluctance of others to follow suit. Normally this ‘paying forward’ of discounts is what can get chains over the line but disagreement about the economic outlook is leading to a lack of cooperation.
“The housing market’s two great foes remain Brexit and Stamp Duty.”
Dilpreet Bhagrath, mortgage expert at Trussle, added: “With house price growth again subdued in August, the property market still remains stagnant. This week, Boris Johnson has confirmed his plans to suspend the UK parliament next month. And with a no-deal Brexit looming, more borrowers are thinking strategically of how best to protect themselves against the ongoing Brexit chaos.”
Source: Financial Reporter