Posted by Yomdelier - 08 January, 2019
The latest Nationwide House Price Index has been released for December providing the first look at how the UK property market performed in 2018.
Despite an annual increase of 0.5%, the rate of price growth was at its lowest since February 2013, also down from 2.6% in 2017. On a monthly basis, prices fell -0.7% marking a notable slowdown from previous months in which Nationwide recorded an unexpected uplift in price growth.
Nationwide attributed this decline to continued economic uncertainty and, while a seasonal influence also played its part along with weakened measures of consumer confidence and a reduction in the number of properties entering the market, the level of growth remained within their broader expectations.
However, Nationwide did state that wider indicators of housing market strength such as the number of transactions and mortgage approvals had remained stable, although these were likely to soften over the coming months.
This wider market stability has been largely driven by the regional differences of the UK market and Nationwide noted that one of the more prominent trends seen last year was the narrowing of the north-south divide. While London and the South East have seen prices continue to cool, Northern Ireland (5.8%), the East Midlands (4%), Wales (4%) and Yorkshire (3.7%) in particular have seen strong annual growth.
It’s unclear how long it will take the overall market to bounce back from the Brexit blues, but for those looking to buy, this muted market performance provides a great opportunity to secure a sale at a lower price.
Our resident property expert and CEO, Andy Soloman, commented:
“With the rate of price growth at its lowest in nearly six years, the UK property market is far from match fit as it finishes the year with more of a whimper than a bang.
This slow in the rate of house price growth has, of course, been exacerbated by the wider political landscape and the continued issues surrounding Brexit. This European hangover will no doubt stretch far beyond Christmas and the New Year and will continue to be a factor over the coming months.
On the bright side, the market is still being dragged kicking and screaming by the confidence across a number of regional front runners and these stronger performances from the likes of the Midlands, Yorkshire and the North West are proof that the UK property market isn’t ready to give up yet.”