House prices remain steady in August

House prices held steady in August, recording a 0.3 per cent monthly rise and a 0.1 per cent quarterly rise in the month, according to the latest Halifax House Price Index.

Compared to the same period last year, house prices were up 1.8 per cent with the average residential property costing £233,541.

Halifax managing director Russell Galley noted that August’s figures “further extend the predominantly flat” trend they have observed over the last six months, with average house prices “barely” changing since March.

Galley added: “While ongoing economic uncertainty continues to weigh on consumer sentiment – with evidence of both buyers and sellers exercising some caution – a number of important underlying factors such as affordability and employment remain strong.

“Although the housing market will undoubtedly be influenced by events in the wider economy, it continues to show a degree of resilience for the time being. We should also not lose sight of the fact that the single biggest driver of both prices and activity over the longer-term remains the dearth of available properties to meet demand from buyers.”

Commenting on the figures, Trussle mortgage expert Dilpreet Bhagath said: “This rise in house prices comes as a surprise, amid the traditional summer slump, not to mention the ongoing political and economic uncertainty that’s gripping the UK.

“And until there’s real clarity over the Brexit process, it’s difficult to predict house price growth. While not ideal for sellers, this does offer an opportunity for first-time buyers who already have a deposit saved up. Particularly as recent research suggests the average income of a first-time buyer has jumped by 1.2 per cent.”

However, while Bhagrath suggested that the current stagnant market offers first-time buyers with an opportunity to begin their climb on the property ladder, Wayhome co-founder Josef Wasinski argued that homeownership is a “distant dream” for “far too many”.

“House prices remain too high, so these figures just hammer home the fact that many aspiring homeowners are struggling to get onto the housing ladder. For far too many, including some of those relying on the Bank of Mum and Dad, homeownership is a distant dream.

“Amidst the fast-changing Brexit backdrop, it’s likely that remedies for housing market issues will be put on hold. However, we need to see the government address this as an immediate priority as decisions take time and action is needed now,” he said.

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