The value of properties increased by an average of 0.2% in October according to Nationwide, half the growth seen in September, with the average house now worth £211,085. On an annual basis, average prices are up by 2.5%.
Robert Gardner, chief economist at Nationwide, said: “Low mortgage rates and healthy rates of employment growth are providing some support for demand, but this is being partly offset by pressure on household incomes, which appears to be weighing on confidence.”
Alex Gosling, CEO of online estate agent HouseSimple.com, said the housing market currently “feels flat and in need of a spark”, noting that while demand was steady there was little urgency among buyers.
“It’s only November, but it feels like the housing market will limp its way through to the New Year now with buyers and sellers holding off on making a decision until 2018,” he added.
Jonathan Hopper, managing director of Garrington Property Finders, argued that the headline figure masks the “profound changes” going on underneath the surface of the housing market.
“On one hand we’re seeing a levelling effect, with a steady flight of equity from London – and other overheated regions – to areas with greater affordability,” he continued. “So while this is hitting prices in many of the areas that saw the frothiest rates of growth during the boom, it’s simultaneously powering both buyer demand and price rises in regions where perceived value is better.”
Mark Harris, chief executive of SPF Private Clients, said that despite a likely base rate rise tomorrow, there was no need for borrowers to panic.
“We are not sure this is actually the end of the cheap mortgage deals. While a number of lenders have increased rates slightly, Nationwide actually reduced its mortgage rates this week and the ultra competitive lending market remains,” he added.
“It may well be that some of any increase is absorbed into lenders’ margins because they are still chasing business. The plethora of new lenders on the market means there is plenty of competition for business and lots of choice for borrowers.”