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City house price growth is proving resilient with average prices up 5% in 2017H1. Birmingham is the fastest growing city while 4 low growth cities are registering house price falls in real terms.
City house price growth 5.1%yoy
UK city house price growth is running at 5.1% per annum, down from 8.8% in June 2016. House price inflation has picked up in recent months. Growth in the first half of 2017 ranges from 0.2% in Aberdeen to 6.1% in Birmingham (Table 2). This is consistent with an 11% increase in home purchase mortgages which are also 5% higher than the 5 year average.
Thirteen cities with lower annual growth
Thirteen cities have a lower annual growth rate than a year ago (figure 1). London, Bristol and Oxford have recorded the greatest slowdown as affordability and uncertainty impact demand. The rate of price falls in Aberdeen has slowed sharply.
House price growth is higher in seven cities, but the scale of the increases compared to June 2016 are more modest. The exception is Edinburgh where the rate of growth has bounced back from 1.8% a year ago to 6.5% today.
Prospects for 2017H2
Despite a material slowdown in the rate of house price growth in south eastern England, house price inflation is holding up despite the squeeze on real incomes and uncertainty around Brexit. The Brexit impact was greatest over 2016H2 and house price inflation has picked up over the last 6 months.
At the end of 2016 we predicted that city house price growth over 2017 would be 4%. On current trends we expect this to be closer to 6-7%. There remains material upside for house prices outside south eastern England. The outlook for mortgage rates, employment and economic growth that hold to key to how fast this translates into higher house prices over the next 2-3 years.
Negative real house price growth
Nominal house price growth in four cities is failing to keep pace with the rate of consumer price inflation which is 2.6% - Cambridge (1.9%), Oxford (2.1%), Newcastle (2.4%) and Aberdeen (-2.7%). House price growth across London City has fallen to a 5 year low of 2.6% meaning prices are flat in real terms. Inner London markets have the lowest rates of house price growth and are registering real price falls.
16 cities have average prices above 2007 peak
Sustained house price growth in large regional cities has pushed house prices ahead of their 2007 peak in sixteen cities. At current growth rates it will be another 2 years before Newcastle, Glasgow and Liverpool exceed their 2007 levels. Belfast will take much longer with prices still 45% lower than in 2007.Fig. 3 - City house prices relative to 2007 peak
House price inflation is currently sitting at 3.2% annually, with growth ranging from +7.7% in Leicester to -2.8% in Aberdeen. Six cities are registering growth above 6%, while London prices are falling by -0.4%. The impact of Brexit on housing has so far been limited, our lead housing indicators suggest no imminent deterioration in the outlook for prices. However, uncertainty about Brexit has been a compounding factor in the slowdown of the London market, alongside weaker market fundamentals.
UK City house price is moderating at +3.2%. Two cities are registering annual price falls, while five cities are tracking house price inflation at more than twice the rate of earnings growth. In London, the extent of monthly price falls has moderated, and 56% of postcodes are registering month on month price gains.
The impact on the UK economy of a hard or ‘no deal’ Brexit, and the knock-on impact for the housing market, has been a topic of much debate recently. Despite uncertainty around Brexit compounding the market slowdown in London, our analysis of income to buy indicates there is further scope for price growth in the most affordable cities, where prices are currently rising fastest.
UK city HPI moderates to 4.2% year on year ranging from +7.5% to -4.0%. Nottingham and Leicester are the fastest growing cities, with London slipping into negative annual growth. Recovery since the financial crisis varies widely - three cities have prices below the levels a decade ago while four cities have prices >50% higher than in 2008.