April 3, 2024 7:12 am

Insert Lead Generation
Nikka Sulton

In March, the UK housing market witnessed a marginal dip in house prices, registering a decrease of 0.2%. Despite this modest decline, the annual rate of house price growth experienced a slight uptick, reaching 1.6% compared to the previous month’s figure of 1.2%. These metrics, sourced from Nationwide, offer insights into the nuanced trends shaping the nation’s property landscape, indicating a blend of short-term adjustments and longer-term market dynamics.

Chief economist Robert Gardner, reflecting on the data, underscored the prevailing scenario, noting a discernible improvement in activity compared to the latter part of 2023. However, he also emphasized that the current level of activity remains subdued relative to historical benchmarks. For instance, Gardner highlighted that the number of mortgages approved for house purchase in January stood approximately 15% below pre-pandemic levels. This observation suggests that while there is evident momentum in the market, it continues to grapple with underlying challenges and uncertainties, likely influenced by multifaceted factors such as economic fluctuations, regulatory measures, and consumer confidence levels.

Moreover, Gardner’s analysis hints at a nuanced interplay between various market forces, including supply and demand dynamics, affordability concerns, and the broader macroeconomic landscape. While the housing market shows resilience in the face of ongoing uncertainties, the pace and trajectory of recovery remain contingent on several factors, including the trajectory of the pandemic, inflationary pressures, and policy interventions aimed at supporting the housing sector. In essence, while the recent uptick in house price growth reflects some positive momentum, it underscores the need for vigilance and adaptability within the housing market ecosystem as it navigates through evolving challenges and opportunities.

“The recent changes in the housing market are primarily attributed to the impact of increased interest rates on affordability. While mortgage rates have moderated from mid-2023 peaks, they remain notably higher than the lows observed post-pandemic.

As inflation trends towards target levels, there’s a noticeable alleviation of cost-of-living pressures, contributing to enhanced consumer sentiment. Surveyors have reported a rise in both new buyer inquiries and property listings in recent months.

Furthermore, as income growth continues to outpace house price escalation, albeit gradually, there’s a gradual improvement in housing affordability. Sustaining these trends could lead to a resurgence in market activity, although the pace of recovery remains subject to the trajectory of interest rates.

Nationwide’s data indicates an uptick in the annual rate of change across all regions during the first quarter of 2024.”

Gardner notes that the regional house price indices, compiled quarterly, reveal mixed trends. While some regions experienced annual price declines, there was an overall enhancement in the annual rate of change across all areas.

Northern Ireland retained its position as the top-performing region, witnessing a 4.6% increase in prices compared to Q1 2023. The North of England exhibited significant progress, with annual price growth surging to 4.1% in Q1 2024, marking it as the leading English region in terms of growth.

Across England as a whole, prices demonstrated a modest 0.4% uptick compared to Q1 2023, while Wales experienced a 1.2% year-on-year rise. Meanwhile, Scotland observed a notable acceleration in annual price growth, reaching 3.7%.

In the northern regions of England, including North, North West, Yorkshire & The Humber, East Midlands, and West Midlands, prices rose by 1.7% year on year. Conversely, southern England, comprising South West, Outer South East, Outer Metropolitan, London, and East Anglia, experienced a slight 0.3% year-on-year decline.

London stood out as the top performer in the south, with annual price growth rebounding to 1.6%. However, the South West emerged as the weakest region, with prices declining by 1.7% year-on-year.



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