House prices flat in August: HM Land Registry

Latest data from the HM Land Registry describes UK house prices increasing by 0.2 per cent on a monthly basis.

Annually, this equates to an average house price rise of 3.2 per cent, leaving the average property price at £232,797.

In England, prices increased by 0.2 per cent from July – or 2.9 per cent annually – with the average property value setting new buyers back £249,748. Within the country, the East Midlands experienced the biggest rise, at 1.5 per cent.

Meanwhile, in the East of England, prices fell by 1.1 per cent, and in the capital, price tags dropped by 0.5 per cent.

In Wales, the monthly rise stood at 1.9 per cent, and annually, 6.2 per cent. The average property in the country is now £162,374.

The data also shows that, on a seasonally adjusted basis, transactions on properties valued at £40,000 or greater stood at 99,120 in August, a monthly increase of 1.3 per cent, but annually, 2.6 per cent lower.

Housesimple.com chief executive Sam Mitchell says: “Land Registry figures aren’t telling us much that we don’t already know.

“This is now a critical period for the property market and we’d normally expect to see a steady stream of buyers keen to purchase before Christmas.

“But this is a market that is still suffering from a supply shortage, and while buyers have the funds to purchase, the lack of properties being listed is a problem that no-one seems to have the answer to.”

Legal & General Mortgage Club director Kevin Roberts adds: “Slower house price growth is certainly music to buyers’ ears, but challenges remain… with the Autumn Budget fast approaching, we need to see the government deliver a clear strategy if we are to resolve our housing situation.

Whether that be clarifying the future of the Help to Buy scheme beyond 2021, a stamp duty break for last time buyers, or building on green belt land, more action must be taken if we are to see more buyers achieve homeownership.”

Foundation Home Loans marketing director Jeff Knight comments: “On the face of it, the fact house prices are not increasing steadily means there’s more opportunity for first-time buyers. However, market uncertainty has meant existing buyers are stalling.

“It’s crucial to recognise how ongoing political uncertainty and regulation impacts the market – making the case for a good supply of rental properties even more necessary. Ongoing activity may be slowing, but ensuring a consistent supply is crucial to keep momentum ticking over in the interim.”

Emoov.co.uk Russell Quick strikes a slightly more positive tone: “On the whole, while transactions are up on a monthly basis and keeping house price growth stimulated as a result, the wider market continues to be plagued by a reduction in buyer demand and as a direct consequence, a subdued number of transactions. The obvious knock-on effect is that the rate of price growth isn’t as impressive as a year ago, but there’s no doubt things could certainly be worse.”

James Pendleton founder and director Lucy Pendleton adds some insight into why prices may be subdued: “The express train to Brexit Armageddon that we’ve been told about every day for the past two years never seems to arrive.

“The price of flats is still flatlining but that’s probably less a sign of FTB appetite and more an effect of HTB and low borrowing rates giving people a bit more spending power, as evidenced by the continued robust performance of new builds, up more than 8 per cent year on year.”

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