Hold on to your hats: house price growth is "skewed towards a modest acceleration", a lender has warned, as it reported growth held steady in January, at 4.4 per cent on last year.
In its monthly house price index, chief economist Robert Gardner said forward momentum in the labour market and record-low interest rates, which aren't expected to go anywhere anytime soon, will combine to strengthen demand over the next few months.
The lender said average selling prices dipped slightly in January, to £196,829, from £196,999 in December. But it also said prices rose 0.3 per cent on a seasonally adjusted basis between December and January, and 1.3 per cent in the three months to January.
Gardner said the net effect is likely to be even more pressure on the construction industry to build the homes needed.
“The concern remains that construction activity will lag behind strengthening demand, putting upward pressure on house prices and eventually reducing affordability.
"Indeed, the market is already characterised by a shortage of stock, with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors reporting that the number of properties on estate agents’ books remains close to all-time lows,” he said.