The latest house price figures are in and they show a slight improvement in August.
According to the latest edition of the popular Halifax House Price Index, average prices rose by 3.7% last month when compared to the same period a year earlier.
However, the average house showed little change from last month at £229,958. This is because, on a monthly basis, prices remained steady, seeing a small rise of 0.1% in August.
In the latest quarter (June to August) prices were 1.9% higher than in the preceding three months (March to May 2018).
The report also shows that mortgage approval figures remained steady.
Industry-wide figures published by the Bank of England show the number of approved mortgages fell by 0.9% to a total of 64,768 between June and July. This is almost exactly at the monthly average for the previous 12 month period of 64,986.
Also reported was the number of completed UK house sales, staying at close to the monthly average for the past 12 months. On a monthly basis, home sales dropped by 0.8% between June and July, to reach 99,270.
On a quarterly basis, in the three months to July, sales increased by 2.1% compared to the previous quarter.
Halifax also reported that the volume of residential property transactions has been broadly flat over the past year, with this volume likely to remain flat in the coming months.
Looking specifically at the first-time buyer market, the number of people getting their first step onto the property ladder rose by around 3% in the first half of the year. It rose to 175,500 compared with 171,200 in the same period last year.
This represents the sixth increase over a comparable period in the last seven years, and the third consecutive year that first-time buyer numbers have exceeded 150,000.
There still appears to be life in the first-time buyer market, although that could change depending on how the government decides to approach the Help to Buy scheme in the future.
Russell Galley, Managing Director, Halifax, said:
“House prices picked up in August, with the annual rate of growth rising from 3.3% in July to 3.7%. With the average house price now £229,958 prices in the three months to August were also 1.9% higher than in the previous quarter.
“While the pace of employment growth has recently slowed, a low unemployment rate and a gradual pickup in wage growth are helping to support household finances. This has been accompanied by interest rates still remaining at a historically low rate and a stable, yet constrained, supply of new homes onto the market further supporting house prices.”
The Halifax House Price Index is the UK’s longest running monthly house price series, dating back to January 1983. From its data covering the whole country, a ‘standardised’ house price is calculated and property price movements on a like-for-like basis (including seasonal adjustments) are analysed over time.
The annual change is calculated as an average for the latest three months compared with the same period a year earlier. These figures provide a better picture of the underlying trend compared to a monthly year-on-year number, as they smooth out any short-term fluctuations.
What do you think about the latest house price figures? Does this national average reflect your experience in the local area?