House price growth falls back to single digits

House price growth falls back to single digits
Photo: Peter Laskowski [Pexels]

House price growth has fallen back to single digits for the first time this year, as experts observe “economic gravity is finally catching up with the property market”.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed on average UK house prices have increased by 9.8 per cent over the year to March, the first time it has been in the single digits since December 2021. 

This means house prices have increased by £24,000, on average, since this time last year. 

The start of the year was hopeful for those hoping for high returns on property, with the months of January and February having growth of 10.4 per cent and 11.3 per cent, respectively. 

The monthly data shows that on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, average house prices in the UK increased by 0.3 per cent between February and March 2022.

Karen Noye, mortgage expert at Quilter said: “The government’s UK house price index for March tells much the same story as other indexes have done for the last few months, which is that the steady march of increasing house prices is coming to an end. They do however still remain extortionately high.” 

Noye added: “With inflation now sitting at 9 per cent as of this morning, and people suffering with the worst food and energy price hikes for decades it is likely that house prices will continue to drop.

“However, whether they drop low enough to make the prospect of homeownership a remote possibility for ‘generation rent’ still remains unlikely.”

The ONS estimated that UK residential transactions in March 2022 will hit 110,990, 36.2 per cent lower than March 2021.

This lead the ONS to conclude there may be increased volatility in this month’s estimates, especially at lower geographical levels where transaction volumes are smaller.

Gareth Lewis, commercial director of MT Finance, said: “The gap between supply and demand continues to push average property prices higher, although the pace of annual and month-on-month growth is slowing.

“Continuing rising property prices don’t really help anyone – they may make homeowners feel richer but if you are trying to buy a home, the task becomes even more challenging. Those trying to move up the ladder are finding it harder.”

Jonathan Hopper, chief executive of Garrington Property Finders, said: “Economic gravity is finally catching up with the property market.” 

“For the UK as a whole, the slowdown is still slight. But the annual pace of price growth has fallen below the symbolic double-digit threshold and is all but certain to stay there.”

“The slowdown has been sharpest in the nations that had previously seen prices rising fastest.”