UK House Prices at Lowest Point Since 2009

UK House Prices at Lowest Point Since 2009

The Nationwide House Price Index for July has revealed that UK house prices have fallen to their lowest point since 2009.  July has seen a house price fall of 0.2% month on month with the annual rate of price growth remaining negative at -3.8%, down from -3.5% in June.

Commenting on the figures, Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s Chief Economist, said: “Annual house price growth edged down to -3.8% in July.  This was the weakest outturn since July 2009, although it is only modestly lower than the -3.5% recorded last month. There was a slight fall of 0.2% over the month, after taking account of seasonal effects.  As a result, the price of a typical home is now 4.5% below the August 2022 peak.

“Investors’ views about the likely path of UK interest rates have been volatile in recent months, with the projected Bank Rate peak fluctuating between 5% in mid-May and 6.5% in early July.  There has been a slight tempering of expectations in recent weeks but longer-term interest rates, which underpin mortgage pricing, remain elevated.

“As a result, housing affordability remains stretched for those looking to buy a home with a mortgage.  For example, a prospective buyer, earning the average wage and looking to buy the typical first-time buyer property with a 20% deposit, would see monthly mortgage payments account for 43% of their take home pay (assuming a 6% mortgage rate).  This is up from 32% a year ago and well above the long-run average of 29%. Moreover, deposit requirements continue to present a high hurdle – with a 10% deposit equivalent to 55% of gross annual average income.”

Soft Landing?

Robert Gardner continued; “Nevertheless, a relatively soft landing is still achievable, providing broader economic conditions evolve in line with our (and most other forecasters) expectations.  In particular, unemployment is expected to remain low (below 5%), and the vast majority of existing borrowers should be able to weather the impact of higher borrowing costs, given the high proportion on fixed rates and where affordability testing should ensure that those needing to refinance can afford the higher payments.

While activity is likely to remain subdued in the near term, healthy rates of nominal income growth, together with modestly lower house prices, should help to improve housing affordability over time, especially if mortgage rates moderate once Bank Rate peaks.”

You can read the full Nationwide House Price Index here.

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