House price growth slows down

Property values increased by 4.4 per cent year-on-year in November, figures from Nationwide Building Society showed
Property values increased by 4.4 per cent year-on-year in November, figures from Nationwide Building Society showed
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​Annual house price growth has slowed to the lowest rate in 10 months​.

​Property values increased by 4.4​ per cent​ year-on-year in November, the weakest annual growth since January when there was also a 4.4​ per cent​ increase, figures from Nationwide Building Society showed.

House prices edged up by 0.1​ per cent​ month-on-month in November, following a 0​ per cent​ change in October, taking the average property value across the UK to £204,947.

Despite the slowdown, Robert Gardner, Nationwide's chief economist, said the latest increase is in line with growth rates seen since early 2015. In October, an annual increase of 4.6​ per cent​ was recorded.

Mr Gardner said: "There are some signs that, despite the uncertain economic outlook, demand conditions have strengthened a little in recent months, reflecting the impact of solid labour market conditions and historically low borrowing costs. Mortgage approvals increased in October, and surveyors report that new buyer enquiries have increased modestly.

"The relatively low number of homes on the market and modest rates of housing construction are likely to keep the demand/supply balance fairly tight in the quarters ahead, even if economic conditions weaken, as most forecasters expect."

Mr Gardner pointed to data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) showing the popularity of fixed mortgage rates as borrowers lock into ultra low rate deals.

He said: "Data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders suggests that over 90​ per cent​ of new mortgages were contracted on fixed rates over the past 12 months. This may be driven by a desire to lock in record low interest rates.

"The proportion of new mortgage lending contracted on fixed rates has increased considerably since the low point in 2010, when less than half of lending was on fixed rates. In recent years, the proportion of lending accounted for by fixed rate deals has persisted at levels well above those prevailing before the financial crisis.

"Fixed rate deals are most popular amongst first-time buyers for whom certainty over monthly payments is likely to be particularly important. Indeed, over the past 12 months 95​ per cent​ of new mortgage lending to first-time buyers was on fixed rates."

Mr Gardner said the average rates on fixed rate deals have edged down in recent years, adding: "For borrowers with a 10% deposit, two-year fixed rates are currently the lowest on record, at 2.42​ per cent​."