Average UK house prices rose 0.5 per cent in May according to the latest Halifax house price index as the long wait for Brexit and political stability continues.
The average house price in the UK is now £237,837 - that’s 5.2 per cent up year on year although the Halifax points out that the annual figure is comparing today with a particularly low growth rate in the corresponding period in 2018.
Agents are understandably frustrated at the continuing uncertainty over the future direction of the government and the economy.
Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, puts it this way: “Not just the country but the property market is in limbo. Uncertainty is outweighing job and wages growth as well as almost record low mortgage rates. No major correction has been seen or is expected and the market remains relatively resilient but continuing lack of urgency means business is tough for all, other than those buyers and sellers prepared to take a more realistic approach to present realities.”
Mike Scott, market analyst at online agency Yopa, suggests the figures may be a little less optimistic than they first seem.
“While the index is mix-adjusted to prevent regional imbalances from affecting the national figure, the Halifax’s mortgage book has always been concentrated in the northern part of the country, and their index may reflect the faster-growing prices in the north compared with stationary or falling prices in the south and London” he says.
Jonathan Hopper, managing director of Garrington Property Finders, comments: "Whether the imminent arrival of removal lorries at 10 Downing Street brings more or less stability to Britain’s fractured politics is moot. For both buyers and sellers, uncertainty has become the new normal and for now the property market is, against all odds, working largely as it should."
Meanwhile the author of the index - Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax - says: "Despite the ongoing political and economic uncertainty, underlying conditions in the broader economy continue to underpin the housing market, particularly the twin factors of high employment and low interest rates.”
He adds that the current trend of stability based on high employment and low interest rates should persist over the coming months.