UK house prices shrug off Brexit worries

UK house prices shrug off Brexit worries
House price growth in the UK remains resilient despite ongoing Brexit uncertainty according to Halifax, with prices rising at their fastest annual rate since early 2017.

The bank’s June House Price Index reports that house prices in the three months to June were 2.4% higher than in the preceding three months and 5.7% higher than in the same period last year. However, on a monthly basis, prices slipped by 0.3%, bringing the average price of a property in the UK to £237,110.

Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax said; “The housing market is displaying a reasonable degree of resilience in the face of political and economic uncertainty. Recent industry figures show demand looking slightly more stable, with mortgage approvals ticking along just above the long-term average.

“One of the major restraining factors on the volume of transactions in the market continues to be the very low level of stock for sale. With the ongoing lack of clarity around Brexit, people will be looking for more certainty in the coming months, both to encourage them to list their property and to create the confidence needed to encourage buyers.”

Conflicting views

Not all lenders agree that house prices have so far shrugged off Brexit uncertainty.

According to Nationwide Building Society, annual house price growth remained subdued at 0.5% in June, marking seven consecutive months of annual growth below 1%.

Nationwide said that prices rose by a modest 0.1% during June, bringing the average property price to £216,515.

Property prices in the capital fell for the eighth quarter in a row, although they are still only around 5% below the all-time highs recorded in the first three months of 2017. Quarterly price growth was strongest in Northern Ireland and Wales, with prices up 5.2% and 4.2% respectively compared to the previous quarter.

Mortgage approvals remain steady

Although opinion varies on house price growth, both Nationwide and Halifax point to the fact that mortgage approvals, which are an indicator of housing market activity, have remained fairly steady.

Bank of England industry-wide figures show that the number of mortgages approved to finance house purchases has fallen by 636 from April to 65,409 in May. This is just below the five year average monthly approval rate of 66,138.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide's chief economist, said: “While healthy labour market conditions and low borrowing costs will provide underlying support, uncertainty is likely to continue to act as a drag on sentiment and activity, with price growth and transaction levels remaining close to current levels over the coming months.”

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