UK house prices steady in face of Brexit

UK house prices steady in face of Brexit

The average house price in the UK remained steady in June, despite uncertainty around the country’s departure from the European Union clouding the economic picture.

In figures released today (July 5), the Halifax House Price Index showed the average cost of a house sat at £237,110, down just 0.3 per cent on the previous month, extending the recent trend of stability, if not growth. 

Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax, said the housing market had been displaying a reasonable degree of resilience in the face of political and economic uncertainty. 

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In the three months to the end of June, house prices were 2.4 per cent higher than in the first quarter of the year.

They were also 5.7 per cent higher than in the same period a year earlier, Halifax said, but pointed to a particularly poor growth rate during that time in 2018. 

"Recent industry figures show demand looking slightly more stable, with mortgage approvals ticking along just above the long-term average," said Mr Galley. 

However, Halifax noted figures from the Bank of England that showed mortgage approvals were still lagging behind the five-year average, with a slump in May a considerable factor. 

Michael Biemann, chief executive of digital property lender Selina Finance, said despite "unprecedented political uncertainty" the UK property market was holding its own, with low supply and stock levels the main drivers. 

"The strong jobs market, exceptionally low mortgage rates and a wider apathy surrounding Brexit are also keeping the market ticking over," said Mr Biemann. 

Mr Galley agreed that one of the major restraining factors on the volume of transactions in the market continued to be the very low level of stock for sale. 

He said: "With the ongoing lack of clarity around Brexit, people will be looking for more certainty in the coming months, both to encourage them to list their property and to create the confidence needed to encourage buyers."

Looking to the next few months, Mr Biemann said the UK was "entering the Brexit endgame and if a no-deal exit from the EU happens, as is looking increasingly likely, transactions could slow up and prices come under more pressure in the short term.

"Long term, the resilience of the UK property market is not in doubt," he added.

"But in the next 12 months it will be entering the unknown and for many households caution, not confidence, will be the watchword."


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