U.K Housing Market Showing Signs of Stability

Chesterton Humberts/CEBR House Price Poll of Polls found that the U.K. housing market is showing a greater stability. The report found this is largely due to the increased number of mortgage approvals as well as the greater amount of credit availability.

In all, the recent report found that house prices have remained fairly flat while London has been helping to increase the national average. In fact, approximately thirteen percent of the national average in sales is due to sales in the capital city. As such, even a slight increase in house prices in London is likely to have a significant impact on the national average, which may create an misleading figures when looking at national statistics. Nonetheless, the recent fall in world stock markets has helped make Eurozone house prices in London a relatively safe bet for investors. Some additional highlights from the report include:

•    House prices in the UK increased by 0.2 percent between August and September of this year, which further increased the amount of stabilization in prices throughout the country
•    House prices in the UK reached £176,553 in September, which is -1.6 percent lower when compared to September of last year
•    The national picture does not accurately represent the diverging trend between the North and South portions of England, as house prices in London have increased by 2.5 percent over the past year while failing -5.2 percent in the North West
•    While house prices grew in London at about the same pace as the rest of the UK in September, they have outpaced the national trend over the year
•    August saw 52,410 new mortgage approvals compared to just 49,644 in July, which represents the highest level seen since May 2010

“In recent months the gulf between asking prices and selling prices has widened as sellers, on average, have been in denial about the true market value of their homes based on the economic realities. This is most keenly observable in the difference between the Rightmove Asking price surveys and the Land Registry data,” said Robert Bartlett, who is Chesterton Humberts’ CEO, in a recent WorldPropertyChannel.com article.  “In addition, buyers appear willing to wait longer at present, without much urgency to make offers or conclude a purchase.”
Bartlett expects to see asking prices fall during the winter, which is traditionally a less active time for home buyers. When the stamp duty relief ends in March, however, he expects to see a major increase in activity. Nonetheless, experts caution that additional steps may be necessary to ensure the housing market continues to stabilize.

“Three years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, credit conditions remain a significant obstacle to improvements in the housing market,” said Douglas McWilliams, who is the Chief Executive of CEBR. “Small improvement in mortgage lending activity will not let the Bank of England off the hook. Another round of quantitative easing is now not only expected, but it is becoming increasingly necessary.”

Global Housing Market on the Mend

The world’s housing markets show signs of hope. Sixteen of the 27 countries that have published their third quarter results with GlobalPropertyGuide.com experienced rising prices. Only 11 countries reported falling prices. After being negatively affected during the economic slump, the UK, Canada, Germany, Singapore and South Africa are finally noting positive price changes quarter-on-quarter.

The world seems polarized between economies of Asia and those of Eastern Europe and the UAE. Except for Thailand, the Asian economies are enjoying strong economic growth and high residential property price rises. In contrast, growth in Eastern Europe and the UAE has stalled and property markets have crashed.

On the global scale, while some markets’ increases are more modest than others, the over-arching trend is toward recovery.