UK House Prices Unexpectedly Rise

2018-04-02


The lack of available properties on the market has once again proven to be a blessing for those looking to sell their property, with prices rising at their fastest pace in January compared to the last 10 months, data from Nationwide [1] indicates.


The average house price actually increased to £211,756 in January. Between December 2017 and January 2018, property values increased by 0.6%, but the annual growth rate was 3.2% and a measly 2.6% beforehand[2]. This represents an acceleration in annual house price growth, which may come as a surprise to some, after signs that the housing sector was softening[3]. Other factors that determined an expected decrease were soft sales in the retail sector during December, as consumer confidence decreased and household incomes were squeezed tighter.


Robert Gardner, Nationwide's chief economist explains the main reason is supply versus demand for new properties. He describes the flow of properties available for estate agents to sell as "more of a trickle than a torrent" and it has been following this trend for quite some time now. This is likely to be the reason why house prices have had support last month.


Many experts were predicting a complete stop to house price growth in 2018[4], with the fears of Brexit implications and an increase in interest rates being the main reasons. There is still pressure on price growth due to real wage growth staying below the zero mark and a lack of consumer confidence. This unexpected rise in house price growth could prove to be an anomaly or the start of a new upward trend. This pace could be maintained if mortgage rates are attractive, the supply remains limited and employment increases[5].


There are surprising developments elsewhere in the property market, with Britain overtaking Germany as the most popular country for investing in commercial real estate[6]. Germany experienced a staggering decrease from 34% to 23% in its investor popularity, whilst the UK increased to 29%. The UK has managed to maintain a popularity ranking above 25%, making it an attractive proposition for many investors. No one can accurately predict the effects of stamp duty, Brexit and all of the changes that could very likely have a lasting impact on the property market.


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Sources:

  1. Nationwide
  2. Nationwide / House Price Index
  3. The Guardian / UK House Prices April Brexit Inflation
  4. The Guardian / UK House Price Price Growth Slow 2018 Brexit Uncertainty
  5. The Guardian / UK House Prices Rise Fastest Rate 10 Months
  6. The Express / UK Germany Real Estate

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