The property market continues to slow. According to Nationwide, there was a slight fall in the UK’s house prices, which were down by 0.2% in May. Most commentators, however, point out that annual growth, at 2.4%, is still well within the predicted band of 1-3% in 2018. It has been hovering around these levels for some time and, with agents and surveyors alike reporting subdued levels of enquiries and instructions, is something that is likely to continue for the time being.
Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s Chief Economist, says:
“Subdued economic activity and ongoing pressure on household budgets is likely to continue to exert a modest drag on housing market activity and house price growth this year, though borrowing costs are likely to remain low. Overall, we continue to expect house prices to rise by around 1% over the course of 2018.”
Rightmove also reports a lack of stock and softening demand. Nationally, the number of sales was down by 5.4% when compared to May last year, but London (down 6.9%) and the Southeast (down 8.5%) saw some of the biggest falls in sales volumes.
However, the capital is now showing signs of tentative growth. New seller asking prices rose by 1.5% and by 3.1% in Inner London. And the closer you get to the centre, the bigger the rise – zone 1 was up by 4.2% and zone 2 was up by 2.2%.
Miles Shipside of Rightmove says:
“After the annual price falls that began nearly two years ago this could be a sign of Inner London new seller asking prices trying to stage a recovery. It is encouraging to see sellers of more expensive central London homes testing the market rather than staying put.”
Hometrack’s latest market report provides yet more evidence of London’s improving fortunes, with prices rising by 0.8%, although 16 out of the 46 local authorities are still registering negative growth.