House price growth slows as cost of living crisis starts to hits the market

House price growth is expected to hit single digits by the end of the year as the cost of living crisis continues to bite and property supply starts to slowly recover.

It comes as Nationwide figures for April showed house price growth slowed for the first time in six months.

The lender’s house price index showed average property values were up 12.1% annually and just 0.3% on a monthly basis to £267,620.

It is still the eleventh time in the past 12 months that annual price growth has been a double digit figure.

Robert Gardner, chief economist for Nationwide, said low agency stock has kept price growth high but he expressed surprise that the market is still so buoyant.

Additional research among 3,000 consumers by Nationwide found that 38% of respondents stated that they were either in the process of moving or considering a move.

A quarter said they were moving to or considering purchasing a larger property in less urban areas.

Gardner said: “We continue to expect the housing market to slow in the quarters ahead. 

“The squeeze on household incomes is set to intensify with inflation expected to rise further, perhaps reaching double digits in the quarters ahead if global energy prices remain high. 

“Moreover, assuming that labour market conditions remain strong, the Bank of England is likely to raise interest rates further, which will also exert a drag on the market if this feeds through to mortgage rates.”

His sentiment was echoed by Tom Bill, head of UK residential research at Knight Frank.

He said: “The wave of strong house price growth that has been building for two years appears to be breaking. Supply is not back to its seasonal norm but it has built from a low base as the spring market got underway. 

“On top of that, the cost-of-living squeeze is being increasingly felt, mortgage rates continue to creep up and the race for space is calming down. We expect growth to decline to single digits by the end of the year and the property market should bear a much closer resemblance to its pre-Covid state by autumn.”

Iain McKenzie, chief executive of The Guild of Property Professionals, said house price growth is finally showing some signs of reflecting economic realities.

He added: “This cooling effect looks set to continue in the months ahead, as the cost-of-living crisis encourages buyers to be more cautious about paying over the odds for the right home.

“Potential interest rate rises and the pressures of inflation will come to bear in the coming months, which will increasingly have a dampening effect on the market.

“However, over a third of people are considering a move in the near future and that demand, combined with solid mortgage approval numbers, will help prop up house prices. 

“Across all ages, movers are still looking for properties away from urban environments, and the amount of people working from home will keep prices higher in commuter areas.”

Jason Tebb, chief executive of OnTheMarket, added: “The slight slowdown in annual price growth is welcome in that context as affordability may increasingly become an issue if property prices continue to rise faster than incomes.

“A remarkable level of confidence remains in the market, despite considerable head winds. Buyers who are serious about moving should be decisive or risk missing out on their chosen property, particularly if they want to take advantage of low mortgage rates while they can.”

Written by: Houseladder