Tuesday 29 October 2019 7:29 am

UK house prices: Growth 'subdued' in wake of Brexit slowdown

House price growth remained below one per cent for the 11th consecutive month in October, as hopeful homeowners sat tight amid Brexit uncertainty.

House prices in the 12 months to October rose 0.4 per cent to £215,368, according to the new figures from Nationwide.

Read more: House prices suffer slowest October rise in more than a decade

On a monthly basis, house prices climbed 0.2 per cent.

Sales slowdown


Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said: “Indicators of UK economic activity have been fairly volatile in recent quarters, but the underlying pace of growth appears to have slowed as a result of weaker global growth and an intensifying of Brexit uncertainty.

Gardner added: “To date, the slowdown has centred on business investment, while household spending has been more resilient.”

According to Nationwide, solid labour market conditions and low borrowing costs
seem to be offsetting the drag from the uncertain economic outlook.

“The question is whether this pattern will continue,” said Gardner.

Read more: Uncertain times are leading to London property ‘microclimates’

No immediate recovery in sight

Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said that there was “no immediate recovery in sight”.

A slowdown in hiring by companies, which has been primarily driven by uncertainty over Britain’s imminent departure from the EU, will “also likely ensure that demand remains week”, Tombs forecasted.

‘Protracted limbo’


The latest modest rises underline concerns over a slowdown in activity in the UK’s housing market, particularly in London and the South, despite a recent improvement in earnings and employment.

“It’s hard to see the market emerging from this sub-one per cent annual growth rut until there is clarity on Brexit,” said David Westgate, chief executive of Andrews Property group.

“The sheer level of political uncertainty has left the property market in a protracted limbo.”

Data released by Rightmove earlier this month found that the price of property coming to market has endured its weakest month-on-month rise at this time of year in over a decade.

Prospective home buyers have been undeterred by the approaching Brexit deadline, while sellers have been put off by ongoing uncertainty over UK house prices, according to to the real estate platform.

North London estate agent and former Rics residential chairman Jeremy Leaf said that the data confirms “that we are not seeing or expecting to see any fireworks in the market over the next few months or at least until the smoke from the political situation begins to clear.”

Guy Harrington, chief executive of property lender Glenhawk, said that the recent news of a potential general election has added to market jitters, creating “a near perform storm of unsupportive conditions for growth”.

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