UK house price growth rises as estate agents cheer Boris bounce

UK house prices this month grew at their fastest annual rate in more than a year, new data showed on Wednesday, offering further evidence of a “Boris bounce” to the residential market.

Lender Nationwide said January saw a modest pick-up in annual house price growth, up 1.9% to £215,897.

That was up from 1.4% growth in December. The prior 12 months had growth below 1%.

Nationwide’s chief economist Robert Gardner pointed to the government’s Help to Buy scheme boosting home ownership among those aged 25-34. He added “healthy labour market conditions and low borrowing costs appear to be offsetting the drag from the uncertain economic outlook”.

Overall the company expects prices to be broadly flat over the next 12 months.

Estate agents welcomed the figures as a further sign that confidence has improved since the Conservative general election victory last month.

A number of firms have reported that scores of purchases that had been put on ice have been agreed recently, as buyers relieved by more political certainty flooded back into London.

Howard Archer, chief economic adviser at forecasting group EY Item Club, said: “There is compelling evidence that the housing market has got an initial leg-up from increased optimism and reduced uncertainties following the decisive election result, as well as greater near-term clarity on Brexit.”

However, he is “relatively cautious over the sector’s overall prospects for 2020”.

Lucy Pendleton, managing director at London estate agency James Pendleton, said: “This month the housing market, with the Boris bounce has ignited the housing market.”

Research today from the Coutts London prime property index said buyers of luxury London homes got less-generous discounts in the final part of 2019, when signs of more political certainty gave sellers more confidence.

The private banking arm of RBS said buyers in the £1 million to £10 million bracket got an average discount of 10.2% off asking prices in the three months to December 31, compared to a 12.7% discount in the same quarter a year earlier.

Original article by Joanna Bourke – Evening Standard