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House price growth picks up but uncertainty dampens demand

Written by: Lana Clements
Prices rose last month but demand is down as buyers show caution
House price growth picks up but uncertainty dampens demand

House price growth edged up to 1.9% annually in November, data showed.

A typical home in Britain is now worth £214,534, after values edged up by 0.3% month-on-month, Nationwide data showed.

Supply has picked up and is just a touch below 2007 levels, but the squeeze on household budgets and uncertain outlook has dampened buyer demand, according to Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist.

He said: “If the uncertainty lifts in the months ahead and employment continues to rise, there is scope for activity to pick-up through next year.

“The squeeze on household incomes is already moderating and policymakers have signalled that, if the economy performs as they expect, interest rates are only expected to rise at a modest pace and to a limited extent in the years ahead.”

Over the last 10 years, total housing stock in England has grown by 1.9m – up 8.5% from 2007.

The strongest growth has been in the South West, London and the East of England.
On the other hand, in the North East and North West, where house prices are still near 2007 levels, growth in supply has been more modest.

Brexit certainty needed

Paul Smith, CEO of haart estate agents, admitted that despite small price growth Brexit uncertainty is taking its toll on the market.

He said: “We cannot escape the fact that the property market is heavily driven by sentiment.

“In October the number of people registering to buy a home at our branches was up 37% on the year, but transactions are not keeping pace.

“Clearly buyers and sellers are holding off as they wait for greater clarity.
“If the government can provide a strong vision of the UK’s post-Brexit future, greater stability and confidence will follow.”

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