Annual house price growth has slowed to 2.2% and prices are falling 0.3% month-on-month, according to Nationwide’s most recent house price index (HPI) for February 2018.
Nationwide chief economist Robert Gardner commented: “After picking up unexpectedly in January, UK house price growth fell back in February, to 2.2% from 3.2% the previous month. House prices fell by 0.3% over the month, after taking account of seasonal factor”.
However, mortgage approvals declined to their weakest level for three years in December 2017, with only 61,000 declines. In October and November of 2017 declines were around 65,000 compared to an average of 67,000 over the previous 12 months, the firm reported.
Garrington Property Finders executive director Nicholas Finn commented: “January’s rapid jump in prices turned out to be a blip rather than a turning point – and the market is settling back into its pattern of modest growth.
“But for all the sluggishness of price rises, this is far from a frozen market. Buyer sentiment picked up a touch in December and this has created a more free-flowing market as a steady stream of would-be buyers get off the fence and commit to moving in 2018”.
James Pendleton founder Lucy Pendleton said that the spike in January was caused by interest rate anxiety, prompting buyers to proceed with the purchase of the property quicker.
Pendleton said that “house price growth will have to tend to zero at some point if the market is to remain as flat as broadly expected in 2018” if this surge was “just a blip”.
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