The latest house price index by Halifax shows that UK house prices are up both annually and quarterly by 2.7% and 1.3% respectively. However, due to the usual seasonal lull of December, prices fell by -0.6% month on month putting the new average UK house price at £225,021.
Annual Price Growth
Quarterly Price Growth
Monthly Price Growth
As the market winded down ahead of the Christmas break, Halifax also recorded a decline in sales instructions as many sellers looked to put their sales on hold until the New Year. There was also a decline in the number of mortgage approvals as buyers followed a similar trend.
But for those already on the market, the number of actual monthly sales transactions continued to exceed 100,000 for the 11th-month in a row, as those already going through the sales process looked to complete ahead of the festive break.
It is widely believed that 2018 will bring another tough year for UK property, with many predicting the market will see a decline where price growth is concerned. But having already displayed a resilient performance over 2017 in the face of strong market uncertainty, there are promising signs for the year ahead, and as buyer demand starts to return to the market, it is likely that 2018 will see subdued but steady price growth.
Like most of us at this time of year, it’s natural that the UK market may be suffering from a degree of lethargy due to the Christmas period.
While price growth is likely to remain subdued for the immediate future, the level of sales completions continues to remain robust, and once the market finds its rhythm again, we should see price growth stabilise.
Many have been quick to forecast very dark clouds ahead for 2018 but as buyer interest returns to the market over the coming months I think the outlook will be a lot brighter than predicted.
The market has weathered the storm of market uncertainty in 2017 and fared much better than many believed it would, so I don’t think the market slowdown over the year ahead will be as exaggerated as some are making it out to be.Russell Quirk