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Housing market ‘shows signs of momentum’ despite high interest rates

UK house prices fell by 0.2% in March. Nevertheless, the annual rate of house price growth edged higher to 1.6% in March, from 1.2% in February.

The figures come from the Nationwide and the lender’s chief economist - Robert Gardner - says: “Activity has picked up from the weak levels prevailing towards the end of 2023 but remain relatively subdued by historic standards. For example, the number of mortgages approved for house purchase in January was around 15% below pre-pandemic levels. 

“This largely reflects the impact of higher interest rates on affordability. While mortgage rates are below the peaks seen in mid-2023, they remain well above the lows prevailing in the wake of the pandemic


“With cost-of-living pressures easing as inflation moves back towards target, consumer sentiment is improving. Indeed, surveyors report a pickup in new buyer enquiries and new instructions to sell in recent months. 

“Moreover, with income growth continuing to outpace house price growth by a healthy margin, housing affordability is improving, albeit gradually.

“If these trends are maintained, activity is likely to gain momentum, though the pace of the recovery is still likely to be heavily influenced by the trajectory of interest rates.”

All regions saw an improvement in annual rate of change in first quarter of 2024 says the Nationwide.

Gardner continues: “Our regional house price indices are produced quarterly, with data for Q1 (the three months to March) indicating that while some regions recorded annual price declines, there was an improvement in the annual rate of change across all areas.

“Northern Ireland remained the best performing area, with prices up 4.6% compared with Q1 2023. The biggest improvement in terms of annual price growth was in the North, where annual price growth picked to 4.1% in Q1 2024, making it the best performing English region.

“Across England overall, prices were up 0.4% compared with Q1 2023, while Wales saw a 1.2% year-on-year rise. Meanwhile, Scotland saw annual price growth pick up to 3.7%.

“Across northern England (which comprises North, North West, Yorkshire & The Humber, East Midlands and West Midlands), prices were up 1.7% year on year.

"Meanwhile southern England (South West, Outer South East, Outer Metropolitan, London and East Anglia) saw a 0.3% year-on-year fall. London remained the best performing southern region with annual price growth recovering to 1.6%. The South West was the weakest performing region, with prices down 1.7% year-on-year.”

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  • icon

    Activity is booming Auction Rooms are full with people getting out when was that ever the case before.
    Auction Houses now thriving seems to be takes over from Estate Agents as preferred way to sell instead of falling through any numbers of times.
    Oh ya Nation Wide supports Shelter while living off landlords.

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    I can't get my head around the first paragraph. If house prices fell .2% in March then how did house price growth go higher to 1.6% in March, from 1.2% in February?


    The figures are based on the annual growth from the previous year, from February to February and then from March to March. Small changes in intervening months don't affect the year to year figures.

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    Easy to see ex Landlord flats on Rightmove. They are newly decorated and state “no chain”. Over the last 6 months plenty being advertised this way. Plenty of landlords desperate to leave the market.


    Great for those landlords willing to weather the storm and batten down the hatches.

    Not so great for tenants, especially if they believed they would be helped by Shelter and the other anti-tenant rabble rousers.


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