House price growth below 1% for fifth consecutive month: Nationwide


Annual house price growth remained subdued at 0.9% in April, the fifth month in a row in which annual house price growth has been below 1%, according to the latest Nationwide house price index. Its figures show that prices rose 0.4% month-on-month, after taking account of seasonal factors.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide's chief economist, said: UK house price growth remained subdued in April, with prices just 0.9% higher than the same month last year.

Indicators of housing market activity, such as the number of property transactions and the number of mortgages approved for house purchase, have remained broadly stable in recent months, even though survey data suggests that sentiment has softened."

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and former RICS residential chairman, commented:"Soft growth in the last set of figures from Nationwide is continuing and confirmed on the high street. Clearly, Brexit uncertainty in the minds of homebuyers is still outweighing almost record low mortgage rates and employment numbers, as well as improved affordability.

"A glimmer of good news is that first-time buyers are taking advantage, particularly of Help to Buy and deposits from the Bank of Mum and Dad, not forgetting reduced competition from landlords. However, landlords leaving the sector has meant some hardening of rents which has made deposit saving, we are finding particularly in London, more difficult, and which is making that illusive first purchase trickier."


Lucy Pendleton, founder and director of independent estate agents James Pendleton, added:At this point in the country's property diary, the market has had a month to get used to Britain abandoning its abandonment of the EU. The pace of the housing market, however, remains the same.

The run of play is still slightly in the favour of buyers but it is only really a buyers' market in any real sense in London and pockets of the South East.

A lot of the activity supporting prices is being driven by first-time buyers around the UK, their pockets still filled with government cash encouraging them to transact.

What estate agents would like to see is a broadening out of demand and less dependency on this group. That's happening to an extent in London where prices have fallen significantly compared with the rest of the country over the last year.

Any rebalancing in favour of owner occupiers will point to better stock levels and more realistic pricing, both of which are better for the housing market in the long run.

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