UK house prices subdued in April: Nationwide

House prices in the year to April 2019 grew 0.9 per cent across the UK, according to Nationwide.

Month-on-month, house prices rose 0.4 per cent, a marginal increase on March’s figure – a rise of 0.2 per cent.

The average UK house price currently stands at £214,920.

Nationwide chief economist Robert Gardner says that the current economic uncertainties have affected consumer sentiment. However, “this has not prevented further steady gains in the number of first-time buyers entering the housing market in recent quarters.

“While the number of properties coming onto the market has also slowed, this does not appear to have been enough to prevent a modest shift in the balance of supply and demand in favour of buyers in recent months.”

Mortgage Advice Bureau head of lending Brian Murphy agrees with Gardner, highlighting “a current continued period of political turbulence” and a “subdued level of growth, both month-on-month and year-on-year”.

He adds: “One positive element noted in the Nationwide report this morning is that with prices plateauing of late, more FTBs have been able to take advantage of near record low rates in order to get a foot-hold on the property ladder.”

Yopa chief property analyst Mike Scott takes a more positive outlook, stating that, “it does seem that price growth is recovering slightly after dropping to zero in the last quarter of 2018, and the actual number of houses sold is holding up well.

“There is no sign of any kind of sustained fall in UK average house prices, which would usually show up first as a drop in the number of house sales rather than in prices.

“We therefore expect continued slow house price growth this year, except where affordability limits have been exceeded in London and south-east England.”

Coreco director Andrew Montlake continues the positive perspective. He says that “sellers may look at these latest house price figures with a sense of dismay but for prospective buyers, market conditions have rarely been as good.

“It is a buyer’s market right now, with a cherry on top.

“FTBs are driving a significant chunk of the activity in the market at present, especially those given a helping hand by the Bank of Mum and Dad, or Gran and Grandad.

“A combination of lower house prices, Help to Buy, fewer amateur landlords and more mortgage products at 90 per cent and 95 per cent LTV has created the perfect environment for people putting that first foot on the ladder.

“There is also the small fact that a lot of FTBs are now looking at the property market and see that it is often cheaper to buy than rent.

“Affordability issues clearly remain more acute in the capital but even there people are increasingly surprised at the products available given the brutal level of competition in the mortgage market.”


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