Growth of UK home prices slowest since 2012

A row of residential properties in front of the City of London financial district. The capital's property market has been the hardest hit due to sluggish economic growth in the wake of the Brexit vote.
A row of residential properties in front of the City of London financial district. The capital's property market has been the hardest hit due to sluggish economic growth in the wake of the Brexit vote.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

LONDON • House prices in the United Kingdom grew at the slowest annual pace in more than five years this month as a slump in London weighed on the market.

Asking prices rose 1.1 per cent from a year earlier, property portal Rightmove said yesterday, down from 3.1 per cent last month.

While the autumn traditionally sees prices pick up after a summer lull, this year had the first month-on-month decline in September in four years, as values in London slumped.

As house price growth slows in response to sluggish economic growth and a squeeze on consumers in the wake of the Brexit vote, the capital's property market has been the hardest hit. The outlook for house prices further dimmed last week when the Bank of England suggested it may soon raise interest rates for the first time in a decade.

Asking prices for London have dropped 3.2 per cent in the past year, the most this decade and a far cry from growth of more than 20 per cent in 2014, Rightmove said. That chimes with a survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors last week, where real estate agents in London gave their bleakest assessment since 2008.

The most expensive London boroughs saw the biggest drops, with Kensington and Chelsea falling more than 10 per cent in the past year, while those in Hammersmith and Fulham dropped 8 per cent.

That was partly offset by gains in Hackney, Southwark and Bexley, while, nationally, the north-east, Yorkshire and East Midlands also saw prices increase.

  • -3.2%

    Drop in asking prices for houses in London in the past year.

  • -10%

    Drop in prices for London boroughs Kensington and Chelsea in the past year.

The slower growth is attracting more buyers, with the number of sales agreed climbing 4.8 per cent from a year earlier.

It is also easing the burden on stretched UK consumers, who are grappling with sluggish pay increases and faster inflation in the wake of the Brexit referendum.

Annual house price increases are now about half the rate of pay growth, which, Rightmove said, will give buyers much-needed relief from an erosion of their spending power. Rightmove director and housing market analyst Miles Shipside said: "Having finally turned the tables to potentially improve their buying power, buyers will now be hoping that it is not eroded again by an interest rate rise or rampant consumer price inflation."

BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 19, 2017, with the headline 'Growth of UK home prices slowest since 2012'. Print Edition | Subscribe