UK house price growth at five-year low as buyers ‘wait and see’

Annual house price growth slowed to a five-year low in August, official figures show.

A “sustained slowdown” in the south and east of England is acting as a drag on UK house price growth, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and Land Registry reported.

The report said average house prices across the UK increased by 3.2% in the year to August 2018, down from 3.4% annual growth in July.

It was the lowest annual increase since a 3% uplift in August 2013.

The average UK house price stood at £233,000 in August this year.

The report said: “While the annual growth rates of the Midlands and the north of England have remained broadly stable over the past two years, the south and east of England has witnessed a sustained slowdown.”

In London, house prices fell by 0.2% annually in August, following 0% growth in July.

Average house prices in London remain much higher than the rest of the UK, however, at £486,000.

Across England, house prices increased by 2.9% in the year to August, slowing down from 3.3% annual growth in July.

Within England, the East Midlands had particularly strong annual house price growth, with prices increasing by 6.5% in the year to August.

This was followed by the West Midlands (5.1%) and Yorkshire and the Humber (3.7%).

Annual house price growth of 6.2% was recorded in Wales, while in Scotland there was a 4.1% annual house price uplift.

House prices in Northern Ireland increased by 4.4% annually.

Howard Archer, chief economic adviser at EY ITEM Club, said: “Caution over making house purchases may well be magnified by current heightened uncertainties over Brexit.”

Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent and a former residential chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics), said: “Certainly, a clearer regional pattern is emerging as buyers seek better value for money outside London whereas prices in the capital continue to drift down.

“Looking forward, we are starting to see first-time buyers taking advantage of reduced competition from landlords for smaller properties.”

Jonathan Harris, director of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said: “The housing market thrives on confidence and there is just too much uncertainty around.

“Transaction numbers are low as buyers hesitate and take a ‘wait and see’ attitude unless they really have to move.

“However, with mortgage rates continuing to be low as lenders compete for year-end business, those who do take the plunge will find some great deals to tempt them.”

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