9:44 AM, 1st December 2020, About 6 months ago
The Nationwide House Price Index for November is reporting annual growth rising to 6.5%, the highest rate since Jan 2015 and up 0.9% month-on-month, after taking account of seasonal factors. The latest average house price for the UK now stands at £229,721.
Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s Chief Economist, said:
“Annual house price growth accelerated from 5.8%in October to 6.5% in November the highest since January 2015. House prices rose by 0.9% month-on-month in November after taking account of seasonal effects, following a 0.8% rise in October.
“Data suggests that the economic recovery had lost momentum even before the latest lockdown came into effect. Economic growth slowed sharply from 6.3% in the month of July to 2.2%in August and 1.1% in September, even though the economy was still around 8% smaller than its pre-pandemic level at that point. Rising infection rates and tighter social restrictions will have resulted in a further hit to growth in October and November.
“Labour market conditions also weakened with the unemployment rate rising to 4.8% in the three months to September, still low by historic standards, but up from an average of 3.8% in 2019. The extension of the furlough scheme to March 2021 will help limit job losses in the short term by enabling firms to retain more staff that they would have done otherwise.
“Despite these headwinds, housing market activity has remained robust. October saw property transactions rise to 105,600, the highest level since 2016, while mortgage approvals for house purchase in the same month were at their highest level since 2007 at c97,500.
“The outlook remains highly uncertain and will depend heavily on how the pandemic and the measures to contain it evolve as well as the efficacy of policy measures implemented to limit the damage to the wider economy. Behavioural shifts as a result of Covid-19 may provide support for housing market activity, while the stamp duty holiday will continue to provide a near term boost by bringing purchases forward.
“However, housing market activity is likely to slow in the ecoming quarters, perhaps sharply, if the labour market weakens as most analysts expect, especially once the stamp duty holiday expires at the end of March.
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