House price growth stable: Nationwide

House price growth stable: Nationwide

Nationwide has reported house prices have increased marginally in January, up just 0.3 per cent this month while annual house price growth was broadly stable at 4.4 per cent.

These figures were down from 0.8 per cent and 4.5 per cent in December, respectively, according to Nationwide’s house price index.

The lender’s chief economist Robert Gardner said that the pace of UK house price growth remained broadly stable during January, while annual house price growth remained in a fairly narrow range between 3 and 5 per cent since last summer.

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Headlines January 2016 December 2015
Monthly Index* 396.9395.6
Monthly Change* 0.3%0.8%
Annual Change 4.4%4.5%
Average Price (not seasonally adjusted) £196,829£196,999

* Seasonally adjusted figure (monthly percentage changes are revised when seasonal adjustment factors are re-estimated).

He commented risks are now skewed towards a modest acceleration in house price growth, at least at the national level, in part because the labour market appears to have significant forward momentum.

Mr Gardner said: “Employment has continued to rise at a robust rate in recent months and, while the pace of earnings growth has slowed somewhat, in inflation-adjusted terms regular wages continue to rise at a healthy pace

“With this trend expected to continue and with interest rates also likely to stay on hold for longer than previously anticipated, the demand for homes is likely to strengthen in the months ahead.”

Mr Gardner added he remains concerned that construction activity will lag behind strengthening demand, putting upward pressure on house prices and eventually reducing affordability.

Adrian Whittaker, sales director at New Street Mortgages, said: “In this environment where increasing competition is making the speed of a mortgage application ever more important, borrowers and advisers alike want to be confident in a lender that has the systems in place to provide a fast and consistent lending process.

“The mortgage industry has been slow to keep up with new technology, and if we are to satisfy the demand for faster mortgage applications and adapt to the rising competitiveness of the market, it is crucial that as an industry we look to keep systems and processes up to date.”