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The annual rate of house price inflation across the 20 cities has started to slow after 12 successive months of rising house price inflation A marked slowdown in the rate of growth over the last three months in London is behind the shift in momentum. However, house price growth in large regional cities outside southern England, continues to hold steady at 7-8% per annum with no sign of an imminent slowdown. Aberdeen is also registering a slower rate of price falls compared to recent months.
Headline UK city house price inflation was 9.5% in July, down from 9.9% in June. Bristol remains the fastest growing city (14%), followed by London (11.7%). House price inflation in Aberdeen is falling at a slower rate of -8% with prices up 2% in the last quarter, a sign the market may have now adjusted to the impact of the fall in the oil price on demand.
Focusing on growth in the last quarter (fig.1), the highest rate of growth have been registered in lower value, higher yielding cities where prices are rising off a lower base – Glasgow (5.2%), Liverpool (4.4%), Manchester and Nottingham (3.4%).
London and Cambridge losing momentum
London has registered a marked slowdown in house price growth over the last three months (fig.2). Average growth in the last quarter was 2.1%, the lowest rate for 17 months as weaker investor demand, affordability pressures and Brexit uncertainty impact demand at the same time as supply has risen. This is still an annualised rate of 8%+ but the signs are growth will slow further over the coming months. Cambridge posted a 1% price fall over the last quarter with prices more sensitive to weaker demand although the annual rate of growth is still running at 7.1%.
Large, regional cities show no sign of a slowdown
Outside southern England, large regional cities such as Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham and Cardiff are registering annual growth rates of 7-8% per annum. House price growth in the last quarter suggests no imminent slowdown with house price inflation stable for now.
What outlook for the rest of the year?
The latest official data from HMRC on housing sales to July show seasonally adjusted volumes down 8% year on year but data is limited as to how this plays out across cities. Update analysis of recent listings data suggests sales volumes are continuing to hold up outside London and southern England. The greatest divergence in new supply and sales remains in London, consistent with slower growth recorded by the Hometrack index.
In the absence of adverse economic trends impacting employment and mortgage rates, the near term outlook is for a continued slowdown in London towards mid-single digit growth and stable growth rates in regional cities as households’ price record low mortgage rates into city house price where affordability remains attractive.
We continue to believe that turnover will register the brunt of the slowdown in London. In the face of lower sales volumes agents will look to re-price stock in line with what buyers are prepared, and can afford, to pay. Past experience shows that this process can run for as long as 6 months and relies, in part, in how quickly sellers are willing to adjust to what buyers are prepared to pay.Fig. 2 – London City – annual and monthly growth
There has been continued growth in large regional cities, despite house price inflation slowing to 5.4%. ZPG listings data shows discounts to asking prices are narrowing, indicating market conditions are improving across cities outside south eastern England. Increased discounting can be seen in London, where price growth has slowed to +1.8%.
City house price inflation has increased to 6.3%. The fastest growth is being registered in cities which have recorded the weakest growth since 2009. We expect city house prices to increase by 5% in 2018.
City house price inflation is 6.1% as price growth picks up speed, driven by regional cities where affordability levels, measured on a price to earnings basis, are in line with the 15-year average. In London affordability is at an all-time high of 14.5x earnings.
City house price inflation is running at 4.9%. Edinburgh is the fastest growing city, overtaking Manchester. House price inflation across London City is 2.3% although low growth means 85% of markets are registering price falls in real terms. We consider the outlook and the impact of a possible increase in interest rates.