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UK house prices rise 1.8 per cent in August

Emma Lunn
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Emma Lunn

The average price of a house in the UK rose by 0.3 per cent to £233,541 in August compared to July, Halifax reported.

HSBC Insurance Graphic_10The rise was 1.8 per cent compared to August 2018 and 0.1 per cent on a quarterly basis.

Russell Galley, managing director, Halifax, said: “Although the housing market will undoubtedly be influenced by events in the wider economy, it continues to show a degree of resilience for the time being.  

“We should not lose sight of the fact that the single biggest driver of both prices and activity over the longer-term remains the dearth of available properties to meet demand from buyers.” 

Jonathan Samuels, CEO of the property lender, Octane Capital, said: “If August was anarchic, political events in September have been positively schizoid. The extended rut that prices have been in looks set to end. 

“While the market flatlined in August, it’s highly unlikely to emerge unscathed from the latest chaos in Westminster.

“Cheap mortgage rates, high employment and low supply have been supporting property prices to date, but the political climate is now so febrile that this looks set to change during September. 

“With both government and opposition in a state of unprecedented disarray, the property market could soon be paying the cost.” 

The new norm

Gareth Lewis, commercial director of property lender MT Finance, said that with house prices remaining at the same level for a while, slight changes were “beginning to look like the new norm for the market”. 

He added: “Lenders are still chasing market share, which is being reflected in cheaper mortgage rates and high street lenders looking at specialist lending to boost their margins.”

First-time buyer boost

Founder and CEO of Stone Real Estate, Michael Stone, said: “The one saving grace that we’ve seen come to the forefront is the continued demand for new build properties and this has helped support the market and ensure prices at least remain stable.  

“Bolstered by Help to Buy and the first-time buyer demand, new build sales have been less susceptible to wider market trends and the sector has maintained a consistent level of activity as a result.

Lack of supply

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: “Lack of supply, an issue which shows no sign of being resolved anytime soon, is supporting property prices, despite all the political and economic uncertainty. Mortgages remain cheap, with lenders cutting rates even further this week as Swap rates continue to fall.” 

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former residential chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, said the underlying strength demonstrated by the market was supported by a “lack of stock”. 

“What we are seeing on the ground is a little more enthusiasm from buyers and sellers returning from holiday and finding they can put off making the necessary changes in their accommodation no longer,” he said.  

“Realistic buyers and sellers are also taking advantage of improved affordability and low mortgage rates but we are finding that it is only those prepared to negotiate hard who are successful.” 

Andrew Montlake, managing director of Coreco, added: “For the time being at least, the economic fundamentals of low supply and a strong jobs market, along with cheap mortgage rates, are mitigating the farce playing out in Westminster.”