The latest house price index has been released by Halifax for November and it’s good news for UK homeowners. It would seem the market has well and truly shaken off previous levels of uncertainty, as prices increase 0.5% monthly, the fifth consecutive monthly increase. Prices are also up 2.4% quarterly, the fastest level of price growth on this measure since the start of 2017.
Other signs that the market is finding its feet again are clear, with the level of UK sales reaching their highest level so far this year, proof that confidence has returned to the market, despite heading into the traditionally slower time of year.
However, mortgage approvals weakened for the third month and there was also a decline in instructions, which suggests that while the market is going from strength to strength, many who may be looking to sell are now putting the decision on hold until 2018, as attention shifts towards the festive season.
The value of the UK’s private housing stock is now estimated at £6 trillion, with the average UK house price now hitting £226,821.
That said, the market is showing signs of winding down with a decline in mortgage approvals and sale instructions. This would suggest the last call for property sales in 2017 has been made, but with sales reaching their highest level this year, there are still plenty looking to complete this side of Christmas which will keep things ticking over.
The market should continue to build on this momentum after the December lull and the outlook is promising for the coming year.
As the issue of supply is unlikely to be addressed in any meaningful way the lack of stock to meet housing demand should keep prices buoyant, aided by the recent changes to first-time buyer stamp duty, although this will bring a marginal influence much further down the line than widely expected.Russell Quirk