House price growth ‘almost ground to a halt’

Sale signs outside properties Image copyright AFP

UK house price growth “almost ground to a halt” in September, with property prices 0.2% higher than a year ago, the Nationwide has said.

The building society also said that prices fell by 0.2% compared with August, according to figures based on its own mortgage data.

It said activity in the housing market had been slow, but stable, for two years.

The average home was now valued at £215,352, it said.

The year-on-year change in house prices is seen as the least volatile measure of the UK housing market.

The 0.2% rise in September, down from 0.6% in August, marked the 10th month in a row in which annual price growth had been below 1%, the Nationwide said.

Brexit uncertainty had widely been associated with the relatively static UK housing market, but some commentators have said this has led to pent-up demand.

“When the extension of Brexit was announced there was a spike in activity in the market, which again reiterates the fact that it is uncertainty holding buyers back rather than a lack of interest,” said Iain McKenzie, chief executive of The Guild of Property Professionals.

Others, however, say it is the lack of house sellers, rather than potential buyers, who have kept activity down.

“While the number of homes changing hands has reduced, buyer demand has kept surprisingly stable – buoyed by strong wage growth and low interest rates,” said Jonathan Hopper, managing director of Garrington Property Finders.

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