Summer 2018 National Property Market Update

Sat, Jun 30, 2018

Our national market summary shows that UK house price growth is at 3% in the year to June 2018, with the West Midlands higher than average at 5.8%

The rate of inflation rose to 2.5% in July, up from 2.4% in the previous three months, the first increase since November 2017. Meanwhile, interest rates were raised in August to 0.75%, just the second increase in over a decade and a unanimous decision by the Monetary Policy Committee.
UK unemployment fell in the three months to June to the lowest level for more than 40 years. Meanwhile, the ONS report that average wages (including bonuses) rose by 2.4% compared to a year earlier, a slowdown on earlier in the year. Being on a par with the rate of inflation means there has been no real growth in wages over the past year.
In the three months to June, the UK economy grew by 0.4%, greater than the 0.2% growth reported in the first quarter. The success in the World Cup and warm weather boosted spending in the second quarter, although concerns over a no-Brexit deal could temper growth in the second half of the year.
In terms of overall price growth, the market is fairly stable according to the July edition of the RICS Residential Market Survey although the regional split shows the North, Midlands, Scotland and Wales much outperforming London and the South East. Over the longer term, an anticipated reduction in supply is expected to support low levels of price growth.
Prices are expected to remain fairly unchanged at the national level in coming months according to the Survey from RICS although in nine regions a net balance of agents expect prices over the next 12 months to be more favourable.
99,270 residential property transactions took place in July 2018, a fall of 3.2% when compared with last year. Revised figures for June suggest sales volumes exceeded the 100,000 barrier for the first time since November 2017.
The number of mortgage approvals for new home purchases fell back slightly in July, although approvals were 2.4% higher between May and July compared to the three months previously. At £22.8 billion the total amount of gross lending was 5.3% higher than in July 2017 according to the Bank of England and its highest monthly figure since March 2016.
Around 3.5 million households are currently on variable or tracker rate mortgages and the Nationwide estimate that the rise in interest rates to 0.75% will lead to an average increase in monthly mortgage payments of around £16 per month.
Average rents across Great Britain rose by 0.9% in the 12 months to July, slightly down from 1% in the year to June. The East Midlands is still seeing strongest rate of annual rental growth at 2.7%, followed by the South West at 1.9%.
Fewer properties are being listed to rent which is diminishing available supply across all parts of the country. With demand for rental properties remaining resilient, rents are expected to increase with agents forecasting a 15% rise over the next five years.
The government is considering introducing a minimum tenancy term of three years for renters under proposals out for consultation until the end of August. At present 80% of tenants have contracts of six or 12 months but government figures indicate renters stay in a property for an average of four years.
The revised National Planning Policy Framework was published on 24th July. From November 2018 councils will take a Housing Delivery Test focused on driving up the numbers of homes delivered in their area, rather than how many are planned for.
There are now as many build-to-rent units in the planning pipeline across the regions as there are in London according to the British Property Federation. There are now 124,037 units complete, under construction or in planning, with BTR activity across the regions outperforming that in London over the past year.
During 2017 there were 35,000 applications submitted for new homes to be built on green belt land. This takes the total number proposed to 460,000, according to the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE). 24,000 homes have been built on green belt land over the last nine years.

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