UK house price growth hit a four-year low in May, according to figures from the Halifax. Prices dropped by 0.2 percent from March to May, only the second quarterly fall recorded by the Halifax house price index since November 2012.
While there was a slight increase in house prices between April and May, a rise of 0.4 percent, there was a drop in the number of properties being sold. Sales fell by 3 percent between March and April to a sales total of 99,910, but sales in the three months to April were 2 percent up on the preceding three months.
Property prices rose by 3.3 percent in the 12 months to May 2017, compared to 10 percent in the year to May 2016. The May figures were down on the 3.8 percent recorded in April and are also the lowest annual rate of growth since May 2013.
Supply of properties remains low
Martin Lewis, housing economist with the Halifax, said: “The fact that the supply of new homes and existing properties available for sale remains low, combined with historically low mortgage rates and a high employment rate, is likely to support house price levels over the coming months.”
Meanwhile, the monthly UK Residential Market Survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) also demonstrated a downward trend in house sale instructions, completed sales and new buyer enquiries.
The RICS pointed to uncertainty in the market caused by the UK general election, which was causing both buyers and sellers to pause before committing to purchases and sales.
Its chief economist, Simon Rubinsohn, said: “Perhaps the most ominous signal emanating from the data released today is that contributors still expect house prices to increase at a faster pace than wages over the medium term.”
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