– House prices across London are falling in real terms as growth runs at 2.3% below the current CPI rate of 3%
– 85% of areas covered by the London City index registered price falls in real terms
– Edinburgh (6.7%) currently the fastest growing UK city, overtaking Manchester (6.5%) as growth in Scotland accelerates
– Overall UK cities registering annual growth of 4.9% compared to 6% twelve months ago
The latest Hometrack UK Cities House Price Index reveals that house prices in London are stuck in neutral. Average house prices in the capital increased by 0.5% in the three months to September 2017 as the annual rate of growth reached 2.3% on the back of lower turnover. However, with the general rate of CPI inflation running at 3% the index shows that in 85% of the areas covered by the London City index house prices are now falling in real terms (Fig 2.) House price growth across many southern cities also remains flat. In Cambridge (2.3%), Oxford (2.3%) and Cardiff (2.4%) the annual rate of growth is below the general rate of inflation.
In contrast, the Hometrack index reveals that cities in Scotland have seen an acceleration in house price growth. Housing sales in Scotland over the last quarter have increased by 20% when compared to the previous 12 months (Source: HMRC). While London sits towards the foot of the 20-city index growth league table, Scotland’s capital Edinburgh now tops the list of UK cities ranked by price growth at 6.7%. Manchester has dropped to second place with annual growth of 6.5% followed by Birmingham at 5.9%.
Glasgow has also registered a significant uptick in house price growth, rising from 1.8% a year ago to 5.6% today. Meanwhile, in Aberdeen house prices have been falling for the last 2.5 years but the year on year growth rate of -1.8% is the slowest rate of price falls for 2 years. Overall the headline rate of annual growth across UK cities is running at 4.9% compared to 6% twelve months ago.
Richard Donnell, Research and Insight Director at Hometrack says:
“The London housing market is now firmly stuck in neutral. Stretched affordability, low yields for investors and concerns over Brexit and its impact on employment are weighing on market sentiment. As a result, further house price falls in real terms across London are inevitable as prices re-align to what buyers are willing to spend. Consequently, nominal house price inflation in London looks set to remain between 1% to 3% over the next six to twelve months.”
“However, house prices look likely to continue rising in regional cities as affordability remains attractive and values are growing off a low base. The rate of growth is expected to moderate around its current level and will be tempered by economic and sentiment factors such as the squeeze on incomes from rising inflation and concerns over the economic outlook. Talk of a possible increase in interest rates and any knock-on effect for mortgages, is also likely to further temper demand.”
“A modest increase in mortgage rates will primarily impact sentiment and levels of market activity. Mortgage rates remain low by historic standards and for the last three years, all homeowners buying with a mortgage have had to prove they can afford a much higher mortgage rate. As a result, recent sales levels already reflect the ability of buyers to afford higher borrowing costs which should mean there is capacity for borrowers to absorb increased monthly repayments.”