House prices grow 1.4% in 2019: Nationwide

House prices rose by 1.4% in December compared to the same month in 2018, the first time annual growth has been above 1% for 12 months, according to the latest Nationwide house price index.

The data shows that prices rose 0.1% in December, after taking account of seasonal factors.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said: “Indicators of UK economic activity were fairly volatile for much of 2019, but the underlying pace of growth appeared to slow through the year as a result of weaker global growth and an intensification of Brexit uncertainty.

“The underlying pace of housing market activity remained broadly stable, with the number of mortgages approved for house purchase continuing within the fairly narrow range prevailing over the past two years. Healthy labour market conditions and low borrowing costs appear to have offset the drag from the uncertain economic outlook.

“Looking ahead, economic developments will remain the key driver of housing market trends and house prices. Much will continue to depend on how quickly uncertainty about the UK’s future trading relationships lifts as well as the outlook for global growth.

“Overall, we expect the economy to continue to expand at a modest pace in 2020, with house prices remaining broadly flat over the next twelve months.”

Lucy Pendleton, founder and director of James Pendleton estate agents, commented: “London’s housing market was the ugly duckling of 2019, limping over the line with a significant fall once inflation is taken into account. The silver lining is that it was this same retreat in prices that stopped the London market grinding to a halt altogether.

“The UK’s decisive election result came fairly early in the month but an improvement in annual growth to more than 1% for the first time in 12 months has probably got more to do with a weak market a year earlier than a sudden bout of festive mortgage arranging.

“It will be another month before we get the very earliest clue as to whether the much-heralded Boris bounce is a potent new dawn of economic renewal for the housing market or a case of all talk and no trousers. Take heart though that it is probably the former.


Original article by Rozi Jones – the Financial Reporter