Much has been said about whether the Brexit vote hit demand for homes in the UK. Figures published today suggest that may be the case: prices grew 5.2 per cent in October, down from 5.8 per cent in September.
The average house price hit £217,411 in October, according to the Halifax house price index – that's 1.4 per cent higher than September. But on a quarterly basis, things looked rather more anaemic. Prices rose just 0.1 per cent in the three months to October, up from a fall of 0.1 per cent in September.
Halifax pointed out that changes to stamp duty made in April caused demand – and prices – to peak in March, with annual house price growth of 10 per cent.
But there's no denying the Brexit vote has had some effect. Figures published by Halifax and IHS Markit earlier this month suggested house prices fell 0.5 per cent in the third quarter of the year – with a drop of 2.5 per cent in London.
One factor may prevent any further falls in prices: supply, which figures from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors last month showed was around the lowest level ever recorded.
“This expected slowdown appears to have been largely due to mounting affordability pressures, which have increasingly constrained housing demand," said Martin Ellis, Halifax's housing economist.
"While house price growth may ease further in the coming months, very low mortgage rates and a shortage of properties available for sale should help support price levels.”
But Mark Posniak, managing director of Octopus Property, suggested Brexit – and the outcome of tomorrow's Presidential election – may still take their toll.
“In a politically and economically uncertain time, both at home and overseas, the resilience of the UK property market will certainly be tested," he said.
“Demand may well be down amid such uncertainty, but as the latest mortgage approvals statistics reveal, it’s by no means out.
"The monthly rise should be taken with a pinch of salt. The quarterly flatness is a much better reflection of where the market is at. The low cost of borrowing, weak supply levels and a robust jobs market are preventing prices from falling more sharply."