Every week new figures pointing to the state of the UK housing market are released. This last week has been no exception, with data from the Nationwide Building Society, Land Registry and The Bank of England.
Figures from the Land Registry and Nationwide Building Society point to a “stagnant” and “subdued” housing market, whilst the Bank of England’s research shows fewer house sales and potential issues for both lenders and borrowers in months to come.
Figures released by the Land Registry have shown that house prices fell by 0.3% in August and are down 2.6% on the same time last year.
Augusts’ slight fall means that prices have dropped for three months out of the last four.
The general picture is one of stagnation, although the London property market continues to buck the national trend. According to the Land Registry house prices in the capital rose by 0.5% and are up by 2.1% year on year.
The figures show that the average house price in the UK is now £162,347 with London prices around double the UK average at £348,686.
Nationwide Building Society
Figures from the Nationwide show a slight rise, of 0.1%, in property prices during the month of August.
The Nationwide’s figures show a smaller year on year fall, than the Land Registry, of 0.3% and the average house price in the UK is now £166,256 according to the Building Society.
The Nationwide believe that confidence has been knocked by the ongoing crisis in the Euro Zone. Robert Gardner, chief economist at the Nationwide said: “Sentiment towards major purchases is depressed, as a result of weak labour market conditions and ongoing pressure on household budgets from above-target inflation.”
Bank of England
According to figures released by the Bank of England the number of mortgage approvals in August rose to the highest level since December 2009.
The Bank said that 52,410 mortgages were approved last month, up 3,000 on the month before.
The figures suggest anecdotal evidence that mortgage lending criteria has loosened slightly may indeed be true and could lead to increased sales in months to come as borrowers find it a little easier to obtain a mortgage.
Adrian Coles, director-general of the Building Societies Association, said: “Approval figures continue to look promising as consumers take advantage of the competitive mortgage rates.”
However, he warned that “the outlook for the economy has deteriorated over the past month as has consumer confidence, which could well spill into the housing market, causing further weakness.”
Despite the potentially good news regarding mortgage approvals the Banks quarterly Credit Conditions Survey indicated that lenders may find it harder in months to come to raise money on the wholesale markets, which many banks and building societies need to do in order to lend to borrowers.
The Bank also said that the number of house sales dropped by 6,000 in August, compared to July, and stood at 78,000, some 3,000 lower than the same month last year.