The Telegraph – House Prices Stagnate Amid Brexit Uncertainty


House price growth remained relatively flat in the year to November, according to official figures, with prices rising 2.8pc compared to 2.7pc in the year to October, taking the average UK property price to £230,630.

The annual growth rate has slowed since 2016, driven mainly by a slowdown in London and the South East, but house prices were still £7,000 higher in November than the previous year. On a monthly basis, taking seasonal factors into account, prices rose 0.1pc between October and November.

According to the latest Land Registry and Office for National Statistics data, Northern Ireland, Wales and the West Midlands spearheaded growth with property price increases in the year to November of 4.8pc, 5.5pc and 4.6pc, respectively, while London prices slumped 0.7pc over the same period. Prices in the capital have fallen every month since July 2018.

Lucy Pendleton, Founder of estate agent James Pendleton, said the North, Midlands, Scotland and Wales were the “engines pulling us along while London rides on its axle”.

“It’s clear that in the South and South East, lack of supply is being overcome to a larger degree by affordability. There is no real recovery in sight for the capital over the next three months,” she said.

The Bank of England’s agents’ summary of business conditions, which surveyed firms between mid-October and late November, said that along with a low supply of houses, demand was also falling.

Agents said there had been an increase in the number of purchases falling through due to Brexit uncertainty among potential buyers. More viewings were required before a sale could be achieved, and buyers were taking longer to reach a decision to purchase.

A report published last week by OneFamily, a mortgage and investment provider, found that a growing number of would-be homebuyers were choosing to rent while waiting for Britain’s exit from the EU in the hope that property prices would fall.

It found that as many as 136,000 first-time buyers were holding off because they are unsure what impact Brexit will have on the property market. As well as deterring young people from buying, existing homeowners were also delaying moving up the ladder.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) predicts that national house price growth will come to a “standstill” this year, but a supply shortage “will negate outright falls”.

Halifax’s Russell Galley is more bullish. “On the basis that it is still most likely that the UK exits the EU with a form of withdrawal agreement and transition period”, he expected annual house price growth nationally to be between 2pc and 4pc by the end of the year.