Price growth remains stable in March
Recent statistics have revealed that house price growth remained relatively stable during March, falling just 0.1% month-on-month.
According to the Nationwide house price index, price growth stood at 2.2% in March, with prices dropping by 0.2% over the month once seasonal factors were taken into account.
Though the growth has remained steady, Nationwide anticipate that it could suffer in 2018, potentially dragged down by weaker economic activity. On the whole, they forecast that property prices across the UK will see minimal change, at a marginal gain of 1%.
Looking to the areas with the strongest level of growth, Northern Ireland came top on an annual basis, with a gain of 7.9%. Though this growth is substantial, it remains around 38% below the peak reached in 2007.
Also seeing house price growth pick-up was Wales, with an annual rise of 6.1%.
In England, price growth stood at a more modest level of 1.9%.
Below this was Scotland, with prices rising year-on-year by just 0.2%.
When looking at the North compared to the South, regions in the North of England saw a greater level of house price growth than the South for the fourth consecutive quarter.
Despite this, Northern house prices are still under half of those in the South when looking at the regional averages, standing at £163,138 and £331,047 respectively.
Commenting on the figures was Robert Gardner. The Chief Economist at Nationwide stated: “On the surface, the relatively subdued pace of house price growth appears at odds with recent healthy rates of employment growth, a modest pick-up in wage growth and historically low borrowing costs. However, consumer confidence has remained subdued, due to the ongoing squeeze on household finances as wage growth continues to lag behind increases in the cost of living.
“Looking ahead, much will depend on how broader economic conditions evolve, especially in the labour market, but also with respect to interest rates. Subdued economic activity and the ongoing squeeze on household budgets is likely to continue to exert a modest drag on housing market activity and house price growth this year.
“But historically low unemployment and mortgage interest rates together with the lack of properties on the market is likely to provide some support for house prices. Overall, we expect house prices to be broadly flat, with a marginal gain of around 1% over the course of 2018.”