UK house price growth returns

Mar 17 | 2024

UK government figures show an uptick in the seasonally adjusted number of house purchases in January 2024.

Jorge Reguera AzcuenagaAlthough the figure fell compared with December 2023, the fall was not as much as is usual at that time of year.  The overall figure is, however, the lowest it’s been in 10 years.

The latest figures released by Nationwide show house prices rising 0.7% month on month in February.  The year-on-year figure also returned to positive being 1.2% higher.

Commenting on the figures, Robert Gardner, Nationwide's Chief Economist, said: “House prices are now around 3% below the all-time highs recorded in the summer of 2022, after taking account of seasonal effects. The decline in borrowing costs around the turn of the year appears to have prompted an uptick in the housing market. Indeed, industry data sources point to a noticeable increase in mortgage applications at the start of the year, while surveyors also reported a rise in new buyer enquiries.”

Nicky Stevenson, Managing Director at national estate agent group Fine & Country, said: “Positive signs for the property market are turning from a trickle to a flood this year, with annual house price change increasing for the first time in 13 months. Demand is building as lower mortgage rates have encouraged buyers to restart their property search, and plunging inflation suggests better news is to come. Some buyers, assuming that we are at the peak of the rate rise cycle, are still waiting in the wings for the first downward nudge in interest rates before they return to the market. But this means there is a lot of pent-up demand that could soon be unleashed.”

Yasin Patel, Co-Founder of ethical property investors Autarky Sukuk, commented: “A return to annual growth will be celebrated as a turning point for the property industry, and homeowners will breathe a sigh of relief that their assets are again climbing in value. Nationwide is also reporting a surge in mortgage applications and new buyer enquiries, which is good news for buyers that may have struggled to find one as interest rates surged and lenders pulled their best deals.”