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House prices strong following Brexit vote

Written by: Christina Hoghton
Fears of a house price crash following the vote to leave the EU have not materialised.

House prices grew steadily in July, rising by 0.5%, according to Nationwide.

In its monthly house price report the mutual said the average UK property price is now £205,715, having increased by 5.2% over the last 12 months.

These figures are based on the first month following the referendum, although the lender was quick to point out that because its data comes from mortgage offers, it is likely to reflect decisions to buy property made before the vote.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, explained: “It is important to note that, in constructing the index, we use data at the mortgage offer stage – this means any impact from the vote may not be fully evident in July’s figures, as there is a short lag between a buyer making the decision to purchase a property and applying for a mortgage.”

Uncertainty ahead

He added that the housing market outlook was unusually uncertain, but said other factors are at play in addition to Brexit.

“Housing market transactions were always likely to soften over the summer after the surge in activity in March, as buyers brought forward purchases of second homes to avoid the stamp duty levy, which took effect in April,” said Gardner. “Determining how much of any fall-back in activity is the result of the tax changes and how much is due to the referendum will be difficult.”

Ian Thomas, co-founder and director of LendInvest, said the fundamentals of the property market remain strong: “There is an acute shortage of new housing being built, and with an interest rate cut apparently on the horizon, borrowing will become even cheaper. Demand will continue to outstrip supply.

“The Prime Minister has talked about wanting to ramp up housebuilding, but now we need action. This isn’t an issue that can be kicked into the long grass.”

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