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Nationwide: House prices rise but so do mortgage rejections



UK house prices edge up in October but mortgage approvals plummet

Mortgage approvals in September fell by 20pc on the beginning of the year. Photo: Alamy

House prices across the UK edged up by 0.5pc in October, after a 0.1pc fall in the previous month, but the annual rate of growth continues to slow - according to Nationwide.

The lender's house price index found that the annual pace of growth declined from 9.4pc in September to 9pc this month, reaffirming that the market has lost momentum.

The price correction in the UK housing market, after a year of rocketing house price growth in London and the South East, and strong recovery in other parts of the country, such as the North West, has been driven by the tightening of mortgage availability.

Nationwide has reported that mortgage approvals in September were 20pc down on levels at the start of the year when the housing market recovery was in full swing.

The Mortgage Market Review, which came into force in April, and Mark Carney's efforts to cap the number of high loan to value products, introduced in June, have restricted lending, while the threat of interest rate rises next year has also dampened demand.

However, over-inflated house prices as seen of late - a result of pent up demand during the downturn - is putting people off too.

Values have also been boosted by the level of cash being injected into the market from the baby boomer generation down-sizing and using the equity to help their children get on the ladder.

"A variety of indicators suggest that the market has lost momentum," said Robert Gardner, Nationwide's chief economist.

"The number of mortgages approved for house purchase in September was almost 20pc below the level prevailing at the start of the year. Some forward looking indicators, such as new buyer enquiries, suggest that activity may soften further in the near term, especially in London."

According to the lender the average UK house prices has nudged up to 189,333 - although these figures are not seasonally adjusted.

This index follows Land Registry findings for September, which were released earlier this week, and reported a decline in the average UK house price of 0.2pc and a 0.7pc drop in London.

The report also showed that despite the high proportion of new mortgage lending on fixed rates, the majority of the stock of outstanding mortgages - around 60pc - is on variable interest rates.

This is a marked shift from the pre-crisis period where the proportion of mortgages on variable rates was 38pc.

Moreover, the majority of recent fixes are for relatively short time periods - 62pc are for two years and around 30pc for five years.

Howard Archer, chief economist for IHS Global Insight, added: "Looking ahead, significant restraint on house buyer interest is expected to come from more stretched house prices to earnings ratios, the prospect that interest rates will eventually start to rise in 2015 and tighter checking of prospective mortgage borrowers by lenders."

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