House prices saw the fastest price growth since January

Michael Lloyd

December 7, 2017

House prices saw the fastest price growth since January, with house prices from September to November 2.4% higher than in the previous quarter (June-August), the latest Halifax Price Index shows.

Prices in the three months to November were 3.9% higher than in the same three months a year earlier despite the annual change in November being lower than in October (4.5%).

House prices rose by 0.5% between October and November, following a 0.3% increase in October, marking the fifth consecutive monthly rise. The average price of £226,821 is 3.2% higher than in January when it was £219,741.

Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax Community Bank, said: “Whilst the annual rate of growth eased in November, with the first decline in this measure since July, when looking at quarterly change prices in the three months to November, {they} were marginally higher than in the preceding three months; the fourth consecutive quarterly increase.

“The imbalance between supply and demand continues to support house prices, which doesn’t look like changing in the near future.”

Home sales grew by a modest 2% to 105,260 in October to reach their highest monthly level in 2017. Sales have remained above 100,000 in all months this year. In the three months to November home sales were 7% higher than in the same period a year earlier.

Mortgage approvals for house purchases weakened in October for the third month. There were 64,575 mortgage approvals, a leading indicator of completed house sales, in October, a 2.3% decrease from 66,111 in September.

Galley added: “Further ahead, increasing affordability issues, as price increases continue to outstrip wage growth, are likely to curb housing demand and cause price growth to ease.

“We do expect the government’s first-time buyer stamp duty changes to provide some stimulus to demand, particularly in London and the South East where the impact is greatest.”

Although there was a decline in instructions for sale, the imbalance between supply and demand continues. Following a couple of months in which new instructions had held broadly stable, supply has now fallen in 20 consecutive months to October. In terms of demand, new buyer enquiries weakened in both September and October.

The value of the UK’s private housing stock in 2017 was estimated at £6trn, an increase of 48% compared with that in 2007 which was £4.1trn.

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