House price growth pretty flat

Published: 30 November 2017

According to the latest figures from the Nationwide Building Society house prices increased by just 0.1 per cent between October and November with the average property price now £209,988, down from the £211,085 recorded in October. Year-on-year growth was flat at 2.5 per cent.

Robert Gardner, chief economist at the Nationwide is reported as saying, "Low mortgage rates and healthy rates of employment growth are providing support for demand, but this is being partly offset by pressure on household incomes, which appears to be weighing on confidence.”

"The lack of homes on the market is providing support to house prices," he added.

Mr Gardner was sceptical that the Government's decision to abolish stamp duty for first time buyers when buying a property up to £300,000 would have anything more than a "modest" impact on demand.

He said: "In many regions, first time buyers already paid little or no stamp duty as the price of the typical first time buyer property was below the previous threshold of £125,000.”

"The potential savings are more substantial for borrowers where house prices are higher, especially in London and the south east."

Further figures released by the Nationwide show that the average first-time buyer in the north of England will save around £500 in stamp duty, while the average first-time buyer in London will save more than £3,000. However, house prices in London are so high that around 81 per cent of first-time buyers in the capital will still pay stamp duty while only 2 per cent in the north of England will.

Russell Quirk, CEO at eMoov, an online estate agency, said: "A muted but stable level of house price growth is probably the best we could hope for at this time of year, given the usual seasonal slowdown coupled with already tougher than normal market conditions. It’s very early days to be observing any kind of impact from the changes to first-time buyer stamp duty and while it may help stimulate demand, and in turn prices, this will only be noticeable much further down the line.”

Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent said, “These figures are mildly encouraging as we might have expected to see a small dip at the very least in both annual and monthly house prices bearing in mind the real threat of an increase in interest rates, the imminent Christmas holiday and continuing economic and political uncertainty.”

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