Sluggish house price growth as Brexit weighs on the market

A Halifax report reveals how the property market has stalled since the EU referendum in 2016.

Annual UK house price growth is at its lowest level in six years in a further sign that Brexit is weighing on the market, figures show.

House prices rose 1.1% year-on-year in September, down from 1.8% in August – the lowest rate of growth since April 2013, according to the latest Halifax house price index.

On a monthly basis, house prices fell by 0.4%, taking the average price of a property to £232,574.

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Halifax says that growth is likely to remain hampered while the uncertainty around Brexit continues.

Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax, says: “While this is lowest level of growth since April 2013, it remains in keeping with the predominantly flat trend that we’ve seen in recent months.

“Underlying market indicators, including completed sales and mortgages approvals, continue to be broadly stable. Meanwhile for buyers, important affordability measures – such as wage growth and interest rates – still look favourable.

“Looking ahead, we expect activity levels and price growth to remain subdued while the current period of economic uncertainty persists.”

The UK housing market has slowed since the EU referendum in 2016, with prices falling in some regions, such as London and the South East.

However, low interest rates and a low supply of available homes has helped stop house prices from plummeting.

Treasury data shows that house sales rose in August - up by 16% from July and the highest level since November 2018. This is possibly owing to buyers looking to conclude transactions before the country leaves the EU at the end of October.

Mortgage approvals fell slightly from July. Figures from the Bank of England show that the number of mortgages approved to finance house purchases were 65,545 in August – a 2.2% fall from July.

Brian Murphy, head of lending for Mortgage Advice Bureau, says: “Once certainty around our EU exit timetable is known - one way or the other - it’s widely anticipated that those would-be home movers who are currently ‘waiting to see’ will take decisive action.

“Generally, the property market tends to see traction increase overall in the autumn as it’s traditionally one of the busier months of the year for movers; whether or not we’ll see a ‘Brexit Bounce’ in November, however, remains to be seen.”

According to the latest data from Nationwide, annual house price inflation was at 0.2% in September, with average prices at £215,352.

- This article was first written by our sister magazine Moneywise.

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