UK house price growth slumps to six-year low

 
Joe Curtis
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Halifax's data contrasts Nationwide's, but experts still predict a softening market (Source: Getty)

UK house prices grew by their weakest rate in almost six years last month, according to figures released today.


Boasting just 0.3 per cent growth in the three months to the end of November compared to the same period last year, house prices fell to their lowest growth since December 2012, according to Halifax.

House price growth also fell by 1.4 per cent in November compared to October, Halifax’s data showed, and by 1.1 per cent compared to the previous quarter.

That left the average UK house price at £224,578.

Russell Galley, managing director of Halifax, said: “While this is the lowest rate of growth in six years, it remains within our forecast range of zero per cent to three per cent for 2018.


“High employment, wage growth and historically low mortgage rates continue to make home ownership more affordable for many, though the need to raise a significant deposit still acts as something of a restraint on the market.

“This is largely offset by relatively limited supply of new and existing properties for sale, which continues to sustain house prices nationally.”

The figures contradict recent Nationwide statistics that showed house price growth improved by 1.9 per cent in November to push off a five-year low.

Halifax has also recorded more volatile movements in house price growth, which hit 1.5 per cent in October and 3.7 per cent in August before its latest 0.3 per cent low.

Howard Archer, economic advisor to the EY ITEM Club, said: “The recent sharp monthly movements in the Halifax measure – and the contrast between the Halifax and Nationwide data - highlights the fact that house price measures can be volatile and differ from month to month between reporting agencies.

“It is therefore best not to attach too much importance to one particular survey but to try and take an overview.”

He pinned overall UK 2019 growth at two per cent, adding: “We suspect that the housing market will be relatively lacklustre over the coming months.”

The news comes after mortgage approvals rose to their highest levels since January 2018 in October, according to the Bank of England.

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, said: “These figures come on the back of recent encouraging housing transaction and mortgage approvals. However, they do continue the trend from last month of a softening, not correcting, market.

“Looking forward, we don’t expect activity to change much bearing in mind seasonal and political distractions. On the ground, lethargy is replacing energy as the market seeks direction in the early new year.”

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