UK House Prices Edge Up

House prices in the United Kingdom edged up in August according to Nationwide, the UK’s biggest building society, but have begun to stabilise recently.

House prices saw a rise of 0.8% in August compared to the 0.2% increase that had been moderated the month before. Of course, monthly figures can be a little volatile at times but the growth in annual prices also rose during August suggesting that these figures are more accurate than others as prices rose from 10.6% to 11% annually. Without seasonal adjustments this brings the average house price in Britain to about £189,306.

The pace of house price growth is still below the 11.8% annually that was recorded in June but “continues to outpace earnings by a wide margin”, said Nationwide chief economist Robert Gardner.

However, housing affordability does not look particularly stretched across the country, at least not historically, in part due to the low mortgage rates on offer at the moment but with annual wage growth running at less than 1% in recent months this means that the future of the housing market remains highly unstable. Mortgage approvals dropped between January and May but again saw a rise following this in July.

Tougher home loan rules put in place on the Mortgage Market Review gently slowed mortgage approval rates but not dramatically enough to stop them seeing a raise once again. Widely expected interest rate increases in 2015 are likely to be gradual.

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: “August proved to be a decent month for the housing market, even though it is traditionally a quiet time of year when not much gets done.”

Data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) suggests that house price inflation was around 10.2% in June, compared with 10.4% in May. This rise was driven by the house prices in London where house prices increased by 19.3% over the year however, this was a minor drop from previous months. Figures from the Land Registry, also published on Friday, suggested that prices were higher in every region of England and Wales in July than they were a year earlier.

The South of England saw the second most prominent rise at 10.2% closely followed by the East of England at 8.3%. The North East and Yorkshire and Humber were the slowest in the country but still had rises of 2% and 3.2% respectively.

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