House price recovery spreads out in UK, but growth is slowing, says Hometrack index

Taylor Scott International News

The top 20 cities in the UK are all registering annual house price growth of 5% or more for the first time in a decade, according to a new index. It is a sign that the housing recovery is spreading, however upward price momentum is slowing, Hometrack’s UK Cities House Price Index shows. It also points out that the annual house price growth is more than three times the current growth in average UK earnings which is 1.3% and explains that pent up demand has fed back into the market supported by low mortgage rates and a pick up in the economy. However, there is clear evidence that the upward pressure on house price is starting to slow on weaker demand for housing. In the last three months, average UK house prices have grown by 0.6% per month compared to 1.1% in the three months to May 2014. The majority of cities are now starting to show signs of a deceleration in the underlying rate of growth but cities with the lowest growth in Spring 2014 such as Glasgow, Edinburgh and Newcastle, have recorded an acceleration as house prices rise off a low base. This latest analysis shows that 11 cities have an average house price below that of the UK with Liverpool and Glasgow house prices 41% lower than the UK average. However, London bucks the trend with an average house price of more than double that of the UK at 117%, illustrating how the capital dominates the rest of the country and is distorting the national picture. The Cities Index also showed a post-referendum bounce in house prices in Edinburgh and Glasgow as confidence improves with average prices up 4.1% and 2.2% respectively in the last quarter. However the market in Aberdeen was down 2% in last quarter and the report says it is being impacted by a weak oil price with house prices declining off a high base. Oxford and Cambridge have seen average prices come off the boil quite sharply in the last three months with a fall of 1.2% and 2.3% respectively, with house prices starting to fall back after very strong gains of 42% and 52% in the last four years. The firm says that these smaller cities are seeing pricing levels respond more quickly to weaker demand. ‘The pick-up in house prices that started two years ago has spread across all UK cities with growth ranging from 5.5% in Liverpool and Glasgow to 18% in London. This latest analysis shows that momentum in house price increases is starting to slow with less pent up demand for housing than two years ago,’ said Richard Donnell, research director at Hometrack. ‘Whilst mortgage rates remain low, new mortgage affordability tests and loan to income caps are impacting on the ability of marginal buyers to access the market, especially in the higher value markets such as London. On top of this, concerns over… Continue reading →

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