UK house prices showed a slight yearly rise of 0.6% in July, a decrease from 1.9% the previous month. Between June and July, prices saw a dip of 0.5%. London, despite boasting the nation’s highest average price at £534,000, witnessed a 0.8% decline over the year. The South West region experienced the most significant drop of 1% this year. Presently, the average house price stands at £290,000, up £2,000 from last year but £2,000 less than November’s high.
Sarah Coles, head of personal finance at Hargreaves Lansdown, said, “The property market is still clinging onto gains, but it’s losing its grip. This set of figures reflect sales agreed as early as April when the market looked more attractive. Since April, the property picture has deteriorated sharply. However, it’s not all bad news. The fixed rate mortgage market has continued to fall from the August peak, and the average 2-year fixed rate is now under 6.6%. Don’t count on a boom though, because property is still horribly expensive, mortgages are still eye-wateringly high, and we’re starting to see the first signs of weakness creep into the jobs market – which has been so vital in underpinning house prices during the cost-of-living crisis. It means we may need to wade through the gloom for a while longer, before we see light at the end of the tunnel.”
Jean Jameson, Chief Sales Officer at Foxtons, observed, “While the market backdrop remains challenging, slightly cooling ONS inflation figures and a growing consensus that the Bank of England has neared the top of its base rate increases has brought some needed respite. Properties with more competitive pricing are still stimulating buyer demand and, for Foxtons, deals agreed in July were the highest they have been over the past 5 years. This indicates that London property remains an attractive option for many and that buyers and sellers are opting for established real estate agencies to support with transactions in this market.”
Fred Jones, COO at instant buying firm UPSTIX, remarked, “As house prices continue to fall but as both mortgage rates and inflation ease, the trough of the market is in sight. Around a third of purchases are now falling through, according to industry groups, and an average transaction takes up to six months to fully complete. Those looking to sell before the dip need to be realistic about prices in order to ensure a sale goes through while many properties still command a post-pandemic premium. We’ve seen a growing need for speed and certainty from sellers, with demand for UPSTIX products up 29 percent quarter-on-quarter.”
Nicky Stevenson, Managing Director at national estate agent group Fine & Country, analysed, “As high borrowing costs continue to squeeze buyer budgets, the knock-on effect for sellers is reduced asking prices and an overall dampening effect on house price growth. Figures today reveal that UK inflation fell in August, potentially reducing the pressure on the Bank of England to raise interest rates, but the figure is still three times above the 2% target. Lenders have been slashing borrowing rates as they compete for business, and they should have already factored in an expected 15th successive base rate rise. If borrowing costs remain steady, or even continue to fall, then confidence should remain strong.”
Emma Cox, MD of Real Estate at Shawbrook, commented, “While all eyes will be on the Bank of England’s base rate decision tomorrow, the latest house price data gives reason to be optimistic for the UK property market. Buyer demand has seen a positive increase, pushing up asking prices as sellers become more confident to list. With potentially lucrative financial benefits, landlords may also consider investing in houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) to diversify their portfolio and maximise rental yield.”
ONS House price data for July was released today: UK House Price Index – Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk)
Land Registry data for July was also published: UK House Price Index: reports – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)