UK house price growth almost ‘ground to complete halt’, Nationwide says

Annual house price growth “almost ground to a complete halt” in January, with prices just 0.1% higher than in the same month last year, Nationwide’s most recent House Price Index revealed.

This rate of growth was just a fifth of December’s sluggish 0.5%, and its worst recording since flat rate growth in February 2013, resulting in figures almost falling to a six-year low.

However, when looking at price growth on a monthly basis, prices increased by 0.3% at the start of 2019 with a 0.7% slip between November and December.

The index found that the average price for a property in January was £211,966, compared with December 2018’s average of £212,281.

Commenting on the statistics, Nationwide chief economist Robert Gardner said: “Annual house price growth almost ground to a complete halt in January, with prices just 0.1% higher than the same time last year.

“In particular, measures of consumer confidence weakened in December and surveyors reported a further fall in new buyer enquiries towards the end of 2018. While the number of properties coming onto the market also slowed, this doesn’t appear to have been enough to prevent a modest shift in the balance of demand and supply in favour of buyers in recent months.”

Despite this, Gardner highlighted that indicators of housing market activity, such as the number of property transactions and the number of mortgage approvals, remained “broadly stable”. Though, forward-looking indicators have suggested that “some softening was likely”.

Gardner concluded: “The economic outlook remains unusually uncertain. However, if the economy continues to grow at a modest pace, with the unemployment rate and borrowing costs remaining close to current levels, we would expect UK house prices to rise at a low single-digit pace in 2019.”

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