A senior estate agency director is warning that house price growth could continue to stall “with Boris loose at the wheel”.
Benham & Reeves director Marc von Grundherr made his remark following new figures from the Nationwide showing that annual house price growth is stuck below one per cent for the ninth month in a row.
Over the past year prices have grown on average by a mere 0.6 per cent across the UK - well below all accepted measures of the rate of inflation - and the typical home now costs £216,096.
“While the UK property market may have ground to a halt on a month on month basis, it is an admirable show of defiance to at least register some annual growth, given the seasonalities at play and the addition of political turbulence that continues to plague home seller sentiment” says von Grundherr.
“With Boris lose at the wheel we could well see price growth continue to stall as many brace for what looks like an interesting few months. However, once the dust settles the likelihood is a consistent and strong uplift in property prices, if not this year, then over the next” he suggests.
Another London agent - Jeremy Leaf who runs his eponymous firm in the north of the capital and is a former RICS residential chairman - says he is pleased the ongoing Brexit rumpus has not had too detrimental effect on the market.
“Fairly stable house price growth suggests that the market continues to be supported by record low mortgage rates, strong employment and improving affordability irrespective of concerns about Brexit” he believes.
“The Nationwide house price index is always widely respected, not least because of its longevity and accuracy. However, it is worth bearing in mind that it tends to carry more emphasis towards the housing market in the southern part of the country rather than the north where the Halifax is traditionally stronger” he adds.
Meanwhile Nationwide chief economist Robert Gardner says that while house price growth has remained fairly stable there have been mixed signals from the property market in recent months.
“Surveyors report that new buyer enquiries have increased a little, though key consumer confidence indicators remain subdued. Data on the number of property transactions points to a slowdown in activity, though the number of mortgages approved for house purchase has remained broadly stable” he explains.
“Housing market trends will remain heavily dependent on developments in the broader economy. In the near term, healthy labour market conditions and low borrowing costs will provide underlying support, though uncertainty is likely to continue to exert a drag on sentiment and activity.”