copy short urlprintemail
+ A
A -
Qatar tribune

PA Media/dpa


The average UK house price fell by 0.2 percent month on month in March, although there are signs that activity is picking up, according to a report.

Property values increased by 1.6 percent annually, taking the average UK house price to £261,142 ($327,787), Nationwide Building Society said.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said: “Activity has picked up from the weak levels prevailing towards the end of 2023 but remains relatively subdued by historic standards.

“For example, the number of mortgages approved for house purchase in January was around 15 percent below pre-pandemic levels.

“This largely reflects the impact of higher interest rates on affordability. While mortgage rates are below the peaks seen in mid-2023, they remain well above the lows prevailing in the wake of the pandemic.” Gardner pointed to signs that consumer sentiment is improving.

He said: “Indeed, surveyors report a pick-up in new buyer inquiries and new instructions to sell in recent months. Moreover, with income growth continuing to outpace house price growth by a healthy margin, housing affordability is improving, albeit gradually.

“If these trends are maintained, activity is likely to gain momentum, though the pace of the recovery is still likely to be heavily influenced by the trajectory of interest rates.”

The index also included data for the UK’s nations and regions, showing annual changes during the three months to March.

The figures showed that within England there was a split, with house prices generally increasing in northern regions and falling in the South.

Gardner said: “Across northern England [including the North-East, North-West, Yorkshire and the Humber, East Midlands and West Midlands], prices were up 1.7 percent year on year.

“Meanwhile, southern England [including the South-West, Outer South-East, Outer Metropolitan, London and East Anglia) saw a 0.3 percent year-on-year fall.

“London remained the best-performing southern region, with annual price growth recovering to 1.6 percent. The South West was the weakest performing region, with prices down 1.7 percent year on year.” Gardner said Northern Ireland remained the best-performing area, with prices up by 4.6 percent compared with the first quarter of 2023.

Rob Wood, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, described the month-on-month fall in house prices as a “blip.” He said: “Forward-looking indicators continue to suggest house prices will keep rising as mortgage rates gradually tick down ...

“We continue to expect house prices to rise 4 percent year over year in 2024.” Jonathan Hopper, chief executive of Garrington Property Finders, said: “Price rises are still being tempered by the high cost of borrowing.”

Anna Clare Harper, chief executive of investment adviser GreenResi, said: “The housing market is not one single market - it’s millions of tiny locations down to the street level, each becoming more or less popular over time, influenced by different factors ranging from local authority solvency to new local development schemes.”

Tom Bill, head of UK residential research at estate agent Knight Frank, said: “House prices have risen marginally but the direction of travel for the UK market has been sideways so far this year.

“Demand will be unleashed once there is a more permanent drop in mortgage rates and that requires fewer mixed signals around inflation and a rate cut to appear firmly on the horizon.” Nicky Stevenson, managing director at estate agent group Fine & Country, said: “Sellers still need to price sensibly to attract attention, as buyers know they are in a strong negotiating position.” Iain McKenzie, chief executive of the Guild of Property Professionals, said: “As prices stabilize and even grow in some parts of the country, we expect to see the demand grow too, especially with more attractive mortgage products now being offered.” Matt Thompson, head of sales at London-based estate agent Chestertons, said: “March concluded the first quarter of the year with a busy property market.” Nathan Emerson, chief executive of Propertymark, said sellers have “every reason to start feeling positive about putting their home up for sale.” Here are average house prices and the annual house price change, according to Nationwide (the annual change figures compare the three months to March with a year earlier): Northern Ireland, £181,303, 4.6 percent North-East, £158,543, 4.1 percent Scotland, £179,148, 3.7 percent North-West, £209,548,2.9 percent Yorkshire and the Humber, £200,958, 2.4 percent London, £519,505, 1.6 percent Wales, £202,533, 1.2 percent East Midlands, £229,458, 0.5 percent West Midlands, £236,006, minus 0.2 percent Outer Metropolitan (includes parts of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Surrey), £414,477, minus 0.6 percent Outer South-East (includes parts of Bedfordshire, Oxfordshire and East Sussex), £328,544, minus 1.0 percent East Anglia, £268,778, minus 1.3 percent South-West, £297,228, minus 1.7 percent.

copy short url   Copy