House price growth accelerated in September, official figures show

Wednesday, 15 Nov, 2017

The slowest annual growth was in London at 2.5%.

Prices in England drove the surge, rising 5.7 per cent over the year compared to 3.1 per cent in Scotland and 5.3 per cent in Wales. That's an £11,000 increase on the average United Kingdom home.

It's a mixed picture when analysing things on a regional basis, although landlords in London and the South East were the worst hit, with average rents falling in these areas by 3.2% and 1.2% respectively.

With non-housing inflation now running at approximately 4.5%, according to the retail price index (RPI), and the national average price gain sitting at 3%, there are many who argue that the current situation is one of stagflation.

The latest average recorded house price was £226,000 in September, compared to the £215,000 average in the same month previous year.

Homeowners used to seeing annual growth of around 8% each year have seen this figure drop to around 5% since the European Union referendum.

This is the 10th consecutive month where the growth in London house prices has remained below the United Kingdom average.

The main contribution to this rate of growth was England, where the average property value increased by 5.7% over the 12 months to September, taking typical house prices to £244,000.

Within England, the North-west showed the highest annual growth, with prices increasing by 7.3 per cent in the year to September 2017 to reach £160,951 on average.

Jeremy Duncombe, Director of Legal & General Mortgage Club, said: "Limited stock and high demand continues to drive annual house price growth, and it's only making homeownership a more exclusive club".

The Founder and CEO of online estate agent, Russell Quirk, comments on the index: "The market has continued to splutter along, registering yet more marginal positive price growth despite a sustainably lower level of buyer demand".

Despite fears of a downward spiral in property prices, most experts believe the chronic under-supply of housing combined with low interest rates means a major downturn or collapse in the market is unlikely.

"Focus will now be on whether measures to stimulate the housing market are seen through in the Chancellor's Budget this month, with a rumoured stamp duty cut for first-time buyers as well as housebuilding pledges".

Richard Snook, a senior economist, PwC, said: "The trend that has been emerging over the summer and autumn is the rest of the United Kingdom outperforming London".

Meanwhile the better-than-expected figures from the ONS have pushed business consultancy PwC to say that its forecast for the 2017 housing market - that prices would rise three to five per cent - is likely to end up at the upper end of this range.

In the U.K as a whole, the number of property transactions completed in July 2017 decreased 15.2% when compared with July 2016 and are now at a five-year low, according to the report.

Mr Snook said: "This does point to a lack of broader market momentum and may lead to a softening in price growth as we move into 2018". However, last week's rate rise signalled the start of raised borrowing costs for the first time in a decade, which is likely to curtail buyer activity in the coming months.