Despite a dismal April, the Halifax House Price Index reveals that house prices in the three months to May were 1.9% higher than the same period a year earlier; experiencing slower growth than the 2.2% annual growth in April and 0.2% higher than in the preceding three months (December-February 2018).
A more bouyant May market saw house prices rise by 1.5% in May, which softened the 3.1% monthly decline the market experienced in April.
The average UK house price is now £224,439.
Russell Galley, Managing Director, Halifax, said of the report:
“House prices grew by 1.5% on a monthly basis, in contrast to a decline seen in April. The month on month figures are more volatile than the quarterly or annual measures. In the three months to May house prices were 0.2% higher than the previous quarter and on an annual basis they are 1.9% higher. Both of these measures have fallen since reaching a recent peak, in the final months of last year.
“These latest price changes reflect a relatively subdued UK housing market. After a sharp rise in January, mortgage approvals have softened in the past three months, whilst both newly agreed sales and new buyer enquiries are showing signs of stabilisation having fallen in recent months.
“The continuing strength of the labour market is supporting house prices. In the three months to March the number of full-time employees increased by 202,000, the biggest rise in three years. We are also seeing pay growth edging up and consumer price inflation falling, and as a result the squeeze on real earnings has started to ease. With interest rates still very low we see mortgage affordability at very manageable levels providing a further underpinning to prices.”
Managing Director for estate agent software specialist AgentPro, Gareth John, questions whether home sales could have been hampered in April and May by the introduction of new GDPR rules. He said:
“Many estate agents left their preparations for GDPR until the last minute – meaning that in smaller agencies, key staff were taken away from actively selling in April to manage GDPR preparations. The AgentPro team were flat out supporting agents in a new release specifically brought out to manage GDPR compliance – and our experience has shown that Estate Agents who aren’t using software to support their agency are still struggling now.
“Like many industries, the property market was somewhat disrupted by GDPR and I expect the trend we saw in May, a slight increase, to continue moving forwards.”