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November 2014 - Hometrack House Price Cities Index

On 19 December, 2014
  • The rate of house price growth in the last quarter has slowed in 16 of the 20 cities when compared to average growth over the last 12 months.
  • Five cities registered faster growth than London in the last quarter – Edinburgh, Glasgow, Southampton, Bristol and Birmingham
  • Average UK house prices are up 8.9% in last 12 months. We expect the rate of growth to slow to 2% by the end of 2015, dragged lower by a major slowdown in London.

Average house price growth for the 20 cities covered by the index is running at 13.2% in the 12 months to November 2014. This is higher than the rate of growth for average UK house prices (8.9%). Momentum in house price growth is slowing. 16 of the 20 cities recorded a slower rate of growth in the last 3 months compared to the average over the last 12 months.

The most pronounced slowdown has been seen in Cambridge, Aberdeen with house prices down on average by -0.2% and -0.4% respectively in the last quarter – see figure 1.

Prices in London are still rising month on month but at a third of the level of growth recorded over the last 12 months. At a localised level there are parts of London where prices have fallen in the last three months as prices re-adjust off a high base.

The major regional cities are likely to see more resilience in the rate of house price growth where the rate of growth is below average and prices are rising off a low base. Five cities recorded higher price growth than London in the last three months - Edinburgh, Glasgow, Southampton, Bristol and Birmingham.

In Scotland there appears to be a post-referendum acceleration in house price growth in Edinburgh and Glasgow. However, the weakness in the oil price is set to impact the Aberdeen economy and housing market where growth has been weakening.

Table 1: City Level Summary
Source: Hometrack House Price Indices

The prospects for the housing market depend upon how the improvements in the economy, on jobs and earnings translate into demand for housing. The transition from economic growth to house price growth takes time to work through the system.

Much of the growth in housing demand in the last 2 years has come from first time buyers, investors and cash buyers. Demand from existing mortgaged home owners has remained subdued. The impacts of greater mortgage regulation are yet to fully play out. London’s strong recovery was ahead of greater mortgage regulation.

Fig. 1 – Average growth rate per month
Source: Hometrack House Price Indices
Fig.2 – London house price inflation
Source: Hometrack House Price Indices

At a city level is the strength of the local economy and the profile of employment that will dictate the relative performance of house prices. 

Looking ahead we expect the rate of house price growth to slow from the current 8.9% to 2% by the end of 2015. The underlying rate of growth is already running at 6% on an annualised basis. A pronounced slowdown in the London market is expected to act as a drag on the headline rate of growth in 2015.

House price growth in cities away from the influence of London is likely to hold up better as affordability levels are less stretched and prices rising off a lower base.

November 2014 - Hometrack House Price Cities Index
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