Annual house price growth continues to soften

Yearly house price growth rises may have lost momentum, Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, has said.

Commenting on the building society’s House Price Index for October, he said: “A variety of indicators suggest that the market has lost momentum. The number of mortgages approved for house purchase in September was almost 20 per cent below the level prevailing at the start of the year.”

House price growth slowed to 9 per cent in October, from 9.4 per cent in September. This was despite a slight rise of 0.5 per cent in house prices month-on-month, from September to October 2014.

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Mr Gardner added: “Some forward-looking indicators, such as new buyer enquiries, suggest that activity may soften further in the near term, especially in London.”

In addition, according to the index, fixed-rate mortgages were increasingly popular in October.

He added: “Fixed rate deals are most popular among first-time buyers, for whom certainty over monthly payments is likely to be particularly important.”

Industry View

Jeremy Duncombe, director of Legal & General’s Mortgage Club for advisers, said: “These figures demonstrate that the rapid rise in house prices we have witnessed in the past year has started to slow.

“While some homeowners may not welcome this development, it is not bad news. Rapid house price growth is not beneficial for the market as prices would ideally rise in line with wage inflation.”