Annual house price growth has slowed to its weakest pace since February 2013 according to figures out this morning from the Nationwide Building Society.
Their monthly house price index showed that prices fell 0.7% in the month of December,
after taking account of seasonal factors.
There is also continuing evidence that the North-South divide is closing.One of the more prominent regional trends in 2018 was the further narrowing of the north-south house price divide in England. Price growth in the south moderated throughout the year, while in the northern regions price growth remained broadly stable in the 3% to 4% range.
Commenting on the figures, Robert Gardner,Nationwide’s Chief Economist, said:
“UK house price growth slowed noticeably as 2018 drew to a close, with prices just 0.5% higher than December 2017.“This marks a noticeable slowdown from previous months,
where prices had been rising at a 2% pace. However, it is broadly in line with our expectations .Indicators of housing market activity, such as the number of property transactions and the number of mortgages approved for house purchases, have remained broadly stable in recent months, but forward-looking indicators had suggested some softening was likely.
“In particular, measures of consumer confidence weakened in December and surveyors reported a further fall in new buyer enquiries towards the end of the year. While the
number of properties coming onto the market also slowed,this doesn’t appear to have been enough to prevent a modest shift in the balance of demand and supply in favour of buyers.”
Property expert and Yomdel CEO, Andy Soloman, commented:
“A 71-month record low in the rate of house price growth demonstrates that the UK property market is far from match fit as it finishes the year with more of a whimper than a bang.
While we are all guilty of letting ourselves go a bit during the festive season, this slow in house price growth has, of course, been exacerbated by the wider political landscape and the continued issues surrounding Brexit. This European hangover will no doubt stretch far beyond the Christmas and New Year and will continue to be a factor over the coming months.
On the bright side, the market is still being dragged kicking and screaming by the confidence across a number of regional front runners and these stronger performances from the likes of the Midlands, Yorkshire and the North West are proof that the UK property market isn’t ready to give up yet.”