May sees house price growth slow
The most recent data shows that in the three months to May, house prices were 1.9% higher than the corresponding period in 2017.
According to the Halifax, May saw prices rise by 1.5%, going some way towards recovering the decline of 3.1% observed in April. Currently, the average house price stands at £224,439.
Looking to the latest data on housing activity, April saw the volume of new buyer enquiries begin to steady having fallen since the start of 2018. Despite showing signs of stabilizing, the figures showed that demand had declined for the 13th consecutive month. The story was similar for new instructions, with April marking the 26th month in a row that the figure had fallen.
Commenting on the data was Managing Director at the Halifax, Russell Galley. He said: “House prices grew by 1.5% on a monthly basis, in contrast to a decline seen in April. The month on month figures are more volatile than the quarterly or annual measures. In the three months to May house prices were 0.2% higher than the previous quarter and on an annual basis they are 1.9% higher. Both of these measures have fallen since reaching a recent peak, in the final months of last year.
“These latest price changes reflect a relatively subdued UK housing market. After a sharp rise in January, mortgage approvals have softened in the past three months. Whilst both newly agreed sales and new buyer enquiries are showing signs of stabilisation having fallen in recent months.
“The continuing strength of the labour market is supporting house prices. In the three months to March the number of full-time employees increased by 202,000, the biggest rise in three years. We are also seeing pay growth edging up and consumer price inflation falling, and as a result the squeeze on real earnings has started to ease. With interest rates still very low we see mortgage affordability at very manageable levels providing a further underpinning to prices.”