Property prices rose in December, but fell in the last quarter of 2018
Average UK house prices rose by 2.2% in December to reach £229,729, according to Halifax, but the lender also noted that prices were down over the final quarter of the year by 0.4%.
The picture is further complicated by the fact that prices in the three months to December were 1.3% higher than in the same three months a year earlier – up from the 0.3% annual growth rate recorded in November.
So what is really happening to house prices, and what does the future hold?
Up or down?
Sam Mitchell, CEO of online estate agent Housesimple.com, said: “The quarterly decline of 0.4% is a more accurate representation of the property market than the unexpected December rise.
“Buyers and sellers alike are sitting on their hands and this is likely to continue during the first three months of the year until there is more clarity on the outcome of Brexit.
“Knowledge is power in the property market but right now few people would claim to be in the know about the impact of Brexit on the UK economy.”
Russell Galley, managing director of Halifax, added: “In 2019, we’re expecting continued stability in house prices with between 2% and 4% price inflation. This is slightly stronger than 2018, but still fairly subdued by modern comparison. However, this expectation will clearly be dependent on the Brexit outcome, with risks to both sides of our forecast.
“The shortage of homes for sale and continuing low levels of housebuilding both constrain the supply of houses, and in turn support high prices, which will continue to inhibit demand in 2019.”