House prices rose for the second month running in June, adding £745 to the value of an average property, but the market remains flat, according to the Halifax.
The mortgage lender said June’s 0.3% increase was not enough to stop the annual rate of house price growth falling for the third month in a row. It stands at 1.8%, which compares with about 4% last autumn.
The new figures follow a period of seemingly volatile and conflicting house price data, although on this occasion the Halifax’s data is broadly in line with that of its main rival. Nationwide building society said prices rose by 0.5% in June, and that annual price growth was running at 2% – the lowest figure for five years.
Russell Galley, the Halifax’s managing director, said property values remained broadly flat, amid relatively low levels of market activity. However, he added: “We continue to see very positive factors of continuing low mortgage rates, great affordability levels and a robust labour market. The continuing shortage of properties for sale should also continue to support price growth.”
The Halifax is sticking with its forecast that prices will rise by up to 3% this year. It puts the current average price at £225,654, which is £2,400 down on March.
The earlier months of this year were marked by volatility. According to the lender, UK prices leapt 1.6% in March, dropped by 3.1% in April, the steepest monthly fall since 2010, and then rose by 1.7% in May.
Commenting on the figures, Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent and the former residential chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, said: “Once again, we are seeing a market in subdued mode, supported broadly for some time by low interest rates and unemployment, as well as more specifically by low stock.”
He added that on the ground “we have reached the limit of what many buyers can afford, so this is not a correction, more a realignment of prices to reflect changes in circumstances”.
Jonathan Hopper, the managing director of Garrington property finders, said at a national level “house prices are stuck in an awkward, shuffling dance – periodically taking one step forward and two steps back”.www.theguardian.com