House price growth slows to 4.6% in October – Nationwide

Ryan Bembridge

November 2, 2016

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UK house price growth slowed from 5.3% in September to 4.6% in October, the Nationwide House Price Index has found.

In October average house prices were broadly flat month-on-month to average just under £206,000.

Jeremy Duncombe, director of Legal & General Mortgage Club, said: “Whilst month-on-month house prices continue to be subdued, it’s important that we don’t let these latest figures distract us from the bigger picture.

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“Annually, prices are outstripping wage inflation, making it ever harder to get onto or move up the housing ladder.

“A supply-side crisis still dominates the housing market, with existing property stock unable to meet current levels of demand, making the idea of owning a home an ever distant prospect for first-time buyers.”

Duncombe added that Prime Minister Theresa May has an excellent “opportunity” to announce a radical housing policy in the Autumn Statement with new measures to free up brownfield sites.

Andrew McPhillips, chief economist at Yorkshire Building Society, called for stamp duty to be converted into a seller’s tax.

He said: “The UK has missed house building targets by a huge 1.2m since 2004, meaning that tackling this issue is likely to take a significant amount of time.

“The government should therefore also consider introducing ways in which it can make homes more affordable in the short-term, such as by making stamp duty a seller’s tax rather than a buyer’s tax to reduce costs for prospective buyers.”

He added: “Although annual house price growth has slowed as demand remains subdued, house price inflation has still significantly outpaced wage growth in recent years.

“This is a trend which could continue in the long-term but at a slower pace as affordability constraints and wider economic uncertainty may dampen market activity.”

Mario Berti, head of Octopus Property, felt the property market is in for a turbulent year.

He said: “While the annual rate of house price growth is down, the End of Days scenario some predicted for the property market hasn’t materialised.

“But at the same time the UK is facing a turbulent year ahead.

“The low interest rate environment, strong labour market and ongoing lack of supply are continuing to support prices.

“But the return of inflation will lead to a fall in real incomes and that may continue to dampen consumer demand and hit property volumes.

“The triggering of Article 50 is another major hurdle for the UK property market. That makes things official and will test consumer and business sentiment all over again.

“Factor in the US election and elections on the continent and you have all the ingredients for uncertainty.

“What we negotiate with Europe will arguably shape the medium and long-term performance of the UK property market.”

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