After a half-year streak of decline, the UK housing market has shown a glimmer of resilience, with house prices registering a 1.1% increase in October. Despite this uptick, the annual figure up to September indicates a 3.2% dip, positioning the average house at £281,974, approximately £40,000 above pre-pandemic values. Even with these gains, the market is not uniform, as South East England witnesses the most substantial annual decrease, with a 6% drop in property values. These findings are encapsulated in Halifax’s latest house price index.
Sarah Coles, Hargreaves Lansdown’s head of personal finance, offers a grounded perspective: “House prices rose in October, for the first time in six months. This looks good on paper for sellers, but to get a higher price on your property, you have to flog it first, and that’s far easier said than done.” She acknowledges the market’s robustness and potential for future softening, with an emphasis on the critical nature of realistic pricing for sellers and shrewd saving strategies for prospective buyers.
Guy Gittins, CEO of Foxtons, notes the opportunities present within the market’s challenges, stressing the significance of professional brokers in securing favorable finance deals. He also remarks that the Bank of England’s recent pause in base rate adjustments may fortify buyer confidence as the year concludes.
Chris Hodgkinson, Managing Director of House Buyer Bureau, highlights the tentative buyer confidence resurgence, cautioning sellers against over-optimism which could extend the selling process.
Yopa’s CEO, Verona Frankish, interprets the current data as indicative of a market responding well to the Bank of England’s freeze on interest rates. She suggests that a steady base rate could help buyers maintain a clearer understanding of their market position, potentially aiding in the completion of purchases.
Marc von Grundherr, Director of Benham and Reeves, optimistically identifies a potential late rally in the market, spurred by sustained interest rates and increased buyer activity.
Lastly, James Forrester, Managing Director of Barrows and Forrester, tempers expectations by differentiating between mortgage approval prices and actual selling prices. He indicates that while buyer confidence may be on the up, it could take longer for this to reflect in the final sale prices.
In summary, the UK property market shows signs of improvement, though regional disparities and ongoing economic pressures continue to shape a complex landscape for buyers and sellers alike.
Halifax has published its house price index for October: october-2023-house-price-index.pdf