UK House Prices Fall Most Since Early 2021

UK house prices declined at the fastest pace since early 2021 amid rising cost of living coupled with stretched mortgage affordability weighing on the property market activity, data published by the Llyods Bank subsidiary Halifax showed Monday.

House prices were down 0.4 percent in October from September, when prices slid 0.1 percent. This was the second consecutive fall and the sharpest since February 2021. The rate came in line with expectations.

The latest fall has taken the typical property price to a five-month low of GBP292,598.

The annual house price growth eased to 8.3 percent in October from 9.8 percent in the preceding period.

Property price inflation among first-time buyers also weakened in October, with the annual price growth at 7.5 percent, down from 10.1 percent in September.

“While a post-pandemic slowdown was expected, there’s no doubt the housing market received a significant shock as a result of the mini-budget which saw a sudden acceleration in mortgage rate increases,” Kim Kinnaird, director at Halifax Mortgages, said.

Kinnaird said economic headwinds point to a much slower period for house prices with tax rises and spending cuts expected in the Autumn Statement.

“While certain longer-term, structural market factors which support higher house prices – like the shortage of available properties for sale – are likely to remain, how significantly prices might ultimately adjust will also be determined by the performance of the labour market,” said Kinnaird.

The development in the labor market in the months ahead will be a key determinant of house price performance into next year and beyond, noted Kinnaird.

Last week, the Bank of England had delivered the biggest interest rate hike in 33 years to bring consumer price inflation back to the 2 percent target given the tight labor market conditions.

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