House prices rose by 5.8% in the year to September taking prices to an average of £214,024, according to the latest Halifax House Price Index.
However, despite the rise, Halifax says prices are “easing” – 5.8% is the smallest annual increase over the past year. The high point for annual increases over the past year was the year to March, when house prices rose by 10%.
On a quarterly basis house prices fell by 0.1%, while on a monthly basis they increased by 0.1% in September.
Martin Ellis, Halifax housing economist, says: “A lengthy period where house prices have risen more rapidly than earnings has put pressure on affordability, therefore constraining demand. Very low mortgage rates and a shortage of properties available for sale should, however, help support price levels over the coming months.”
‘Little EU referendum effect’
Many housing experts note that today’s figures reveal a smaller than expected EU referendum effect on house prices.
Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, says: “These figures are interesting because they show that prices held up better than expected bearing in mind they reflect the period immediately following the referendum, albeit they are based on very low stock and declining transactions.
“However, since the beginning of September we have seen an increase in activity although buyers are still relatively slow to commit until they are sure they have achieved what they think are the best possible terms.”
Founder and CEO of eMoov.co.uk, Russell Quirk, adds: “The Leave decision continues to have a very minute influence on the UK market at present as at this point we are a member of the EU. This slowdown is undoubtedly seasonal and looking at this time last year, prices were on a much steeper month to month downturn.
“When Article 50 is implemented, we could see a market wobble, however the extent of this is likely to be minor.”