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UK house prices flat in May

UK house prices flat in May
Shekina Tuahene
Written By:
Shekina Tuahene
Posted:
07/06/2024
Updated:
07/06/2024

There was little month-to-month movement in average UK house prices in May, with a 0.1% dip to £288,688.

According to the Halifax house price index, this followed a 0.1% growth recorded in April.

Annually, average house prices were 1.5% higher than they were a year ago.

Amanda Bryden, head of mortgages at Halifax, said: “UK house prices were largely static in May, edging down slightly by -0.1% or around £170 in cash terms. On an annual basis, house prices rose for a sixth consecutive month, up by +1.5% versus +1.1% in April. The average property price now stands at £288,688.

“Market activity remained resilient throughout the spring months, supported by strong nominal wage growth and some evidence of an improvement in confidence about the economic outlook. This has been reflected in a broadly stable picture in terms of property price movements, with the average cost of a property little changed over the last three months.

“A period of relative stability in both house prices and interest rates should give a degree of confidence to both buyers and sellers. While homebuyers and those remortgaging will continue to respond to changes in borrowing costs, set against a backdrop of a limited supply of available properties, the market is unlikely to see huge fluctuations in the near term.”

Housing market ‘moving in right direction’

Industry commentators said the small change in average house prices was a good sign that buyers and sellers had not been undeterred by the upcoming election or the fact mortgage rates were still relatively high.

Nathan Emerson, CEO at Propertymark, said: “The housing market seems to be generally moving in the right direction, with house prices going up annually from this time last year. With a general election now on the horizon, there may be potential caution from buyers and sellers, especially those hoping to step on to the housing ladder for the first time, as they await any announcements regarding government support. People will also be carefully awaiting the Bank of England’s next announcement this month.”

Guy Gittins, CEO of Foxtons, said the figures were proof that “the UK property market is in great form”, adding: “We now look set for a summer of sustained market activity”.

Gittins continued: “In recent weeks, we’ve seen buyer enquiries peak to some of their highest levels in recent years and sellers are responding favourably, with the same peak being seen in the number of offers accepted. This is despite the fact that interest rates are yet to come down.

“We’ve also seen no inkling of election-related jitters on either the side of buyers or sellers.”

Anna Clare Harper, CEO of sustainable investment adviser GreenResi, said the figures were not exciting on the face of it, but “small rises and falls in pricing month-on-month are, in fact, a very positive thing”.

She added: “At a time of great difficulty – cost-of-living crisis, housing crisis and many other crises of confidence, it is a credit to the stability of the housing market that it remains relatively stable, when prices for other types of property such as shops and offices have taken big hits; frequently 30 to 40 per cent.

“So, this stable growth story perhaps won’t grab headlines, but it is good news, because both stability and growth give investors and homebuyers confidence at a time when confidence is critical.”

Strong growth in the North West

The Halifax house price index showed the North West was the strongest performing region or nation, with a 3.8% annual growth rate to £232,258.

This was followed by Northern Ireland, where house prices rose 3.2% year-on-year to £191,767.

The largest fall in average house prices was recorded in the East of England, where there was a 0.8% decline to £329,853.

Related: Average mortgage rates down year-on-year