The latest figures and analysis from mortgage lender Nationwide has revealed that UK property prices rose 1.1% month-on-month this June, reversing the previous three months’ falls.
According to Nationwide, annual house price growth has risen to 3.1% and the gap in house price growth between the strongest and weakest performing regions in Q2 is now the smallest on record.
Robert Gardner, Nationwide's Chief Economist, had this to say: “UK house prices rebounded in June, with prices rising by 1.1% during the month, erasing the decline recorded over the previous three months. However, monthly growth rates can be volatile, even after accounting for seasonal effects.
The annual rate of house price growth, which gives a better sense of the underlying trend, continues to point to modest price gains. Annual house price growth edged up to 3.1% from 2.1% in May. In effect, after two sluggish months, annual price growth has returned to the 3-6% range that had been prevailing since early 2015.
There has been a shift in regional house price trends. Price growth in the South of England has moderated, converging with the rates prevailing in the rest of the country. In Q2 the gap between the strongest performing region (East Anglia, which saw 5% annual growth) and the weakest (the North, with 1% growth) was the smallest on record, based on data going back to 1974. Nevertheless, when viewed in levels, the price gap between regions remains extremely wide.
London saw a particularly marked slowdown, with annual price growth moderating to just 1.2% - the second slowest pace of the 13 UK regions and the weakest pace of growth in the capital since 2012."
At this point it is unclear whether the increase in house price growth in June reflects strengthening demand conditions on the back of healthy gains in employment and continued low mortgage rates, or whether the lack of homes on the market is the more important factor. While survey data suggests that new buyer enquiries have softened, it also indicates that this has been matched by a decline in new instructions. Indeed, the number of properties on estate agents’ books remains close to all-time lows.
However, the subdued level of building activity and the shortage of properties on the market are likely to provide support for prices. As a result, we continue to believe that a small increase in house prices of around 2% is likely over the course of 2017 as a whole.