Mortgages  

House price growth continues to flatline

House price growth continues to flatline

Average house prices fell slightly between February and March according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, though are still higher since the start of the year.

In the year to March 2018 average house prices increased by 4.2 per cent but they fell by 0.2 per cent on a month-on-month basis.

The annual growth rate has slowed since mid-2016 - when it was around 8.2 per cent - but has hovered between 4 per cent and 5 per cent throughout most of 2017 and into 2018.

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The average UK house price was £224,000 in March 2018. This was £9,000 higher than in March 2017 and £500 lower than February 2018.

Since August 2017 the average house price has been on a steady downward trajectory, losing £1,500 since then.

Kevin Roberts, director of the Legal & General Mortgage Club, said: "Whilst some may talk of a slowdown, the softening in house price growth should be welcomed by all.

"Not only will this make it that little bit easier for potential buyers to make their first move, but the wide range of products available on the market means there is more choice and flexibility than ever before."

The main contribution to the increase in UK house prices came from England, where house prices increased by 4 per cent over the year to March 2018, with the average price in England now £241,000.

Wales saw house prices increase by 3.5 per cent over the past 12 months to stand at £153,000 while in Scotland the average price increased by 6.7 per cent over the year to stand at £146,000.

The average price in Northern Ireland stood at £130,000, an increase of 4.2 per cent over the year.

Of the English regions, London was the only one to see house prices fall, with the average price going down by 0.7 per cent year-on-year to £472,000, though this continued to be the region with the highest average price.

House prices in London have been falling since July 2017, with the average house now worth around £15,000 less than it was at its peak.

The east of England was the region with the highest growth year-on-year, with the average house price up 5.8 per cent to £291,415.

Steve Seal, director of sales and marketing at Bluestone Mortgages, said: "With house price growth rising at a more sustainable rate, it is very much a buyer’s market. However, the fact that many would-be homeowners still struggle to secure lending remains unchanged.

"Borrowers who may have experienced a bump in the road, such as an illness or unexpected event, find it challenging to meet the vanilla criteria of high-street lenders. Yet these borrowers do not deserve to be completely ousted from home ownership for simply missing one or two missed payments.

"Ultimately, the industry is failing to serve a significant proportion of these borrowers and until it recognises that this group is not full of repeat offenders, specialist lenders will continue to help them onto the property ladder instead."

damian.fantato@ft.com