Housing market treads water in November as weakness persists

Ben Southwood
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HOUSE PRICES were completely flat in November, data out yesterday revealed, highlighting the weakness in the market.

According to Nationwide’s latest monthly survey average prices were unchanged this month at just under £164,000.

However, in spite of staying flat in the month, the annual change in price worsened from minus 0.9 per cent in the year to October to minus 1.2 per cent in the year to November.

For each of the last nine months, prices have been lower than they were in the same month a year earlier.

Despite the downward trend, Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said the underlying position of the housing market was stable. “Annual price growth has remained in a narrow band between plus 1.5 per cent and minus 1.5 per cent on all but two occasions over the past two years,” he said.

And data out today suggested that extra supply could keep downward pressure on prices. The Glenigan index for housing starts was up three per cent in the three months to November, compared to a year ago, the firm said.

“Private housing construction continues to go from strength to strength in the latter part of this year. It is clear that there is the demand for houses in the country and it looks like the flood of measures put in place by the government are beginning to have a sustained positive impact on the housing market and construction activity,” said Glenigan economist Andrew Whiffin.

And it was not just private housing that held strong – new work in the social housing sector increased by 11 per cent in the same period, despite the cuts programme.