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Tuesday, March 07, 2017

House price growth - lowest since 2013

Halifax have just posted the house price index data for February.

Halifax's Martin Ellis comments:

“House prices in the three months to February were 1.7% higher than in the previous quarter; down from 2.3% in January. The annual rate of growth fell to 5.1% from January’s 5.7%, the lowest since July 2013.

Housing demand is being supported by an economy that continues to perform well with employment still expanding. Meanwhile, the supply of both new homes and existing properties available for sale remains low. This combination is pushing up prices.

The annual rate of house price growth has, however, nearly halved over the past 11 months. A sustained period of house price growth in excess of pay rises has made it increasingly difficult for many to purchase a home. This development, together with signs of reduced momentum in the jobs market and squeezed consumer spending power, is expected to curb house price growth during 2017.”

To read the in full - Halifax House Price Index

Further industry comment

Founder and CEO of, Russell Quirk, commented:

“It would seem the cobwebs have been dusted off after the New Year hangover with these latest numbers showing the UK housing market remains resilient and is bouncing back after a seasonally slow start to 2017, reversing the downward trend seen last month.

With prices having increased both annually and monthly, albeit only marginally, it is probable that we will continue to see the property market blossom as we enter into spring, in what is traditionally the busiest time of the year.

However, the continued growth of these numbers could hinge on tomorrow’s budget announcement and whether or not the government decides to actually tackle the shortage of housing in the UK. If they do finally take a step in the right direction price growth could cool to a certain extent, as buyer thirst is quenched with an adequate level of housing stock, although this would be a slow process."
Paul Goodman, from the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers (NACFB), comments:

"Today's Halifax data, revealing a marginal monthly house price growth of 0.1%, once again highlights a critical absence of housing supply. This is underpinned by the fact that houses simply aren't getting built in the numbers that this country desperately needs - in fact, housebuilding fell by 1% last year. This data starkly lays bare how much the government's housing white paper has to do.
The current status quo, where 10 of the nation's largest housebuilders provide 60% of homes, clearly isn't working. The communities secretary's pledge to "diversify" the market - incentivising smaller property developers to build - should help to redress this calamitous stock imbalance, and get the UK building the 250,000 homes it needs every year."

Jonathan Hopper of Garrington Property Finders comments:

“Halifax’s latest data reflects the cautious nature of the market; with value sensitive buyers remaining committed to their moving plans, but only at the right price. Although prices in the three months to February 2017 were up on the previous quarter, this comes at a somewhat steadier rate than we’ve seen recently.The ongoing chronic lack of supply is a significant factor currently underpinning prices. Despite renewed focus on housebuilding by the Government, there doesn’t appear to be a quick fix solution that will change the demand/supply imbalance any time soon, although tomorrow's budget announcements may help make a step towards this.Despite total UK home sales continuing to push up, we anticipate more sedate price growth in 2017, as rising house price-to-earnings ratios start to bite in parts of the country and restrict overall affordability. On the ground, there is a pervasive sense of caution. Astute vendors are increasingly prepared to reduce their asking price in exchange for the guarantee of a sale.”

Rob Weaver, from Property Partner  comments -

“It’s a case of steady as she goes. House price growth may no longer be stretching to double digits but it’s still climbing, albeit now more slowly. Despite continuing uncertainty, a buoyant jobs market, record low interest rates and the imbalance between high demand for homes and a severe shortage in supply continue to put upward pressure on prices. But the real disappointment in today’s Halifax figures is that housebuilding last year fell, with a marked slowdown in new housing completions in the final quarter of 2016. If the UK is to fix its broken housing market, it needs radical solutions. There was a lukewarm reception for the recent housing white paper - all ears will now be on tomorrow’s Spring Budget in eager anticipation of any incentives to get Britain building affordable homes.”

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