Residential property prices continued to cool in September as the property market softens, with the latest data from Halifax revealing that annual gains slowed to 5.8%.
Last month’s rate of annual house price growth is down from the 6.9% recorded in August and significantly below the 12-month high of 10% recorded in March this year, although Halifax showed house prices did rise marginally by 0.1% month-on-month.
Property values have remained broadly flat since the EU referendum, with the average price of a home standing at £214,024, down 1.5%, or £2,702, since June.
Martin Ellis, Halifax housing economist, said: “The housing market has followed a steady downward trend over the past six months with clear evidence of both a softening in activity levels and an easing in house price inflation.
“The reduction in annual house price growth from a peak of 10% in March to 5.8% six months later remains in line with our forecast at the end of 2015.”
He continued: “A lengthy period where house prices have risen more rapidly than earnings has put pressure on affordability, therefore constraining demand.
“Very low mortgage rates and a shortage of properties available for sale should, however, help support price levels over the coming months.”
The latest Halifax index is broadly similar to September data from Nationwide Building Society.
It said the average home was £10,430 more expensive than the same time last year to reach £206,015, an increase of 5.3%, down from the 5.6% growth recorded in August.
Ian Wilson, chief executive of Martin & Co, said: “Rising house prices will mean that there is a generation of 30-somethings who will be raising their families in rented accommodation and may never own their own home. I'm not making a political point about whether this is desirable or not, but landlord investors should think hard about the type of stock they hold or wish to acquire. The demand will shift from one bed and two bed flats in city centres, towards three and four bedroom family houses with gardens, off-street parking for two cars and access to good state schools. This is the new "Generation Rent".”
Also commenting on the latest house price data, Adrian Gill, executive director, Your Move & Reeds Rains, said: “As the summer months draw to a close, a rise in house prices is to be expected. The fact remains, however; now is still a great time to buy a home. The Bank Base Rate is holding at its historic low of 0.25% and lenders’ appetite to lend continues to be strong.
“In the short-medium term, therefore, the outlook for the housing market is positive. In order to ensure this optimism continues, it is paramount that we see a greater number of new homes come to the market every year.
“The stunted supply of new properties has meant that fewer existing homeowners are able to move up the housing ladder, ultimately impacting first time buyers. For many of these would-be homeowners, the private rental sector has become their only refuge.
“The new government has already alluded to the fact that housebuilding will be front and centre of it’s agenda, which is absolutely necessary. What we cannot forget about, however, is the important role the private rental sector also plays in our nation’s housing supply.”