House prices are rising at a faster rate, with the UK House Price Index (UK HPI) for April up by 5.6% annually, bringing the average price of a property to £220,094.
Despite the uncertainty in April created by the snap election announcement and the triggering of Article 50, house prices went up by 1.6% over the month by more than £3,000 – according to the UK HPI. However, data from Halifax, Nationwide and Rightmove, which look at May’s figures (see methodology below), are more restrained on both monthly and annual house price growth.
Key stats at a glance
- UK House Price Index for April 2017: House prices up by 5.6% annually. Average price of a UK property: £220,094. Monthly change: 1.6%.
- Halifax House Price Index, May 2017: House prices up by 3.3% annually. Average price of a UK property: £220,706. Monthly change: -0.4%.
- Nationwide House Price Index, May 2017: House prices up by 2.1% annually. Average price of a UK property: £208,701. Monthly change: -0.2%.
- Rightmove House Price Index, May 2017: Asking prices up by 3% annually. Average price of a UK property: £317, 281. Monthly change: 1.2%.
The latest figures from the UK House Price Index (UK HPI) for April shows an annual price rise of 5.6% – a return to the kind of figures seen in January (6.2%) and February (5.8%) as opposed to March’s revised figure of 4.5% (initially reported as 4.1%). This means the average property in the UK is now valued at £220,094 – it was £216,603 in March.
In England, prices have risen slightly more than the UK average, by 5.7%, which puts a typical property at £236,519. However, monthly house prices are down on the UK average for March, at 1.3%.
In Wales, annual price growth was broadly similar to last month, with a 4.2% increase and an average property price of £147,921. Since March, house prices have risen by a more modest 0.9%.
Meanwhile, Londoners saw annual house price growth at 4.7%, a monthly rise of 0.7% and an average property value of £482,779 in April – as compared to a -1.5% drop in March.
Like last month, the East of England experienced the greatest increase in property prices over the year – up by 8.1%, while Yorkshire and the Humber saw the greatest monthly price growth – up by 3.9%. No region experienced negative growth: the North East saw the lowest annual price growth at 0.6%, while the South East had the lowest monthly price growth – up by 0.3%.
Commenting on the UK HPI, Jonathan Hopper, managing director of Garrington Property Finders, says: “Such a solid return to form suggests March’s sudden slowdown in price growth was a speed bump rather than a stop.
“But even so, the property market remains in low gear - with prices being slowly ratcheted up by the chronic lack of supply rather than any acceleration in demand.
“The electoral sideshow did have a cooling effect, but many buyers are proving stoically immune to political rhetoric – and demand remains remarkably robust.”
Annual growth lowest since May 2013
Halifax reveals that house prices in the three months to May were 3.3% higher than in the same period a year ago. It points out that this is the lowest annual growth rate since May 2013 (2.6%) and around a third of the 10% peak house prices hit in March 2016.
Halifax reports that house prices were down by -0.2% between March and May compared to the previous quarter, while there was a monthly rise of 0.4%.
Martin Ellis, Halifax chief economist, believes that house prices will remain steady in the short term.
He says: “The fact that the supply of new homes and existing properties available for sale remains low, combined with historically low mortgage rates and a high employment rate, is likely to support house price levels over the coming months.”
Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, adds: “The Halifax figures are interesting as they reinforce findings from other recent surveys, suggesting that we should be concentrating not just on increasing supply of new homes but encouraging existing homeowners to move.”
Housing market “losing momentum”
Nationwide reports an annual house price growth of 2.1% – the weakest in almost four years – and monthly prices have also dropped for the third month in a row, down by -0.2%.
Commenting on the latest figures, Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, says that they suggest that the housing market is “losing momentum”.
He adds: “While real incomes are again coming under pressure as inflation has overtaken wage growth, the number of people in work has continued to rise at a healthy pace. Indeed, the unemployment rate fell to a 42-year low in the three months to March.
“It is too early to conclude whether the slowdown in house price growth is merely a blip, a reflection of the impact of the squeeze on household budgets, or is due to mounting affordability pressures in key areas of the country.”
Families with under-11s keep the market moving
Rightmove has seen average property prices on its portal go up for the fifth month in the row – up by 1.2%, or by £3,636 in May – as compared to 1.1% in April. Meanwhile, annual house price growth was up by 3%.
Interestingly, its research suggests that homeowners with children under the age of 11 are keeping the market moving: they are twice as likely as the average person to move house.
Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, says: “While all-time high asking prices or economic and political uncertainty could be deterrents to would-be home-buyers, May has shown another strong set of figures. Demand is exceeding supply in many parts of the country and continues to push up the prices of newly marketed homes. Spring is in the air and home movers are springing up the housing ladder.”
Halifax House Price Index – This UK-wide index is based on the house purchase price at the mortgage approval stage. It calculates the annual change as an average for the latest three months compared with the same period a year earlier as it says its figures provide a better picture of the underlying trend compared to a monthly year-on-year number as they smooth out any short-term fluctuations.
Nationwide House Price Index – The data for this index for the whole of the UK is drawn from Nationwide’s house purchase mortgage lending at the post-survey approvals stage.
Rightmove House Price Index – The data is compiled from the asking prices of properties when they first come on to the market via over 13,000 estate agency branches listing on Rightmove.co.uk. The sample includes up to 200,000 homes each month – representing circa 90% of the market.
UK House Price Index – The UK HPI uses house sales data from HM Land Registry, Registers of Scotland, and Land and Property Services Northern Ireland and is calculated by the Office of National Statistics.