UK Halifax House Prices Remain Flat In May

UK house prices were unchanged in May after a slight upturn in the first quarter as higher interest rates started to squeeze household budgets, results of a survey by Lloyds Bank subsidiary Halifax showed on Wednesday.

House prices were stable on a monthly basis in May following a 0.4 percent fall in April, the survey revealed. That was in line with economists’ expectations.

On a yearly basis, house prices dropped 1.0 percent, reversing a 0.1 percent rise in the prior month. Further, this was the first annual decline since late 2012.

A typical UK property costs GBP 286,532 compared to GBP 286,662 in April.

Prices continue to fall on an annual basis across southern England, again led by the South East with a 1.6 percent decline, closely followed by the South West by 1.4 percent.

“As expected the brief upturn we saw in the housing market in the first quarter of this year has faded, with the impact of higher interest rates gradually feeding through to household budgets, and in particular those with fixed rate mortgage deals coming to an end,” Halifax Mortgages Director Kim Kinnaird said.

Amid persistently high inflation, markets are pricing in several more rate hikes that would take the Base Rate above 5 percent for the first time since 2008, Kinnaird noted. Those expectations have led fixed mortgage rates to start rising again across the market.

“This will inevitably impact confidence in the housing market as both buyers and sellers adjust their expectations, and latest industry figures for both mortgage approvals and completed transactions show demand is cooling,” Kinnaird said.

Therefore, Kinnaird observed that further downward pressure on house prices is still expected.

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