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Annual house price growth at four year high

Christina Hoghton
Written By:
Christina Hoghton

Property prices are 5% higher than this time last year, reaching £226,129 in September

UK property prices ticked up by 0.9% in September, pushing annual house price growth to 5%, its highest rate since September 2016, said Nationwide.

The building society noted the average property price has now risen to £226,129, as the housing market recovery continues.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said: “Mortgage approvals for house purchase rose from 66,000 in July to almost 85,000 in August – the highest since 2007, well above the monthly average of 66,000 prevailing in 2019.

“The rebound reflects a number of factors. Pent-up demand is coming through, with decisions taken to move before lockdown now progressing. The stamp duty holiday is adding to momentum by bringing purchases forward. Behavioural shifts may also be boosting activity as people reassess their housing needs and preferences as a result of life in lockdown.”

Regional boost

Nationwide found that most UK regions saw a slight pickup in annual price growth in the third quarter of 2020 compared with the second, with prices in all areas higher than a year ago.

Only Scotland saw a slowing in the annual rate of price growth, to 2%, compared to 4% in the second quarter.

The South West was the strongest performing UK region, with annual price growth rising from 2.3% to 5.5%.

Gardner added: “For the first time since 2017, house price growth in southern England exceeded that in northern England.

“Annual house price growth in London continued to edge higher, with prices up 4.4% in quarter three. Average prices in the capital hit a record high of £480,857 and are now 57% above their 2007 levels (UK prices are 21% higher than their 2007 peak).”

However, David Westgate, group chief executive at Andrews Property Group, was more cautious. He said: “5% annual growth is an impressive headline figure but the post-lockdown property market resurgence has now peaked.

“Despite the stamp duty holiday, there are signs that the market is now slowly cooling with tighter lending and first time buyers being squeezed out.

“With the level of economic uncertainty ahead, we are now slowly moving towards a buyers’ market.”