Hello and welcome to our August Monthly Market Insight, bringing you the latest residential market data and industry news in one place.
The much-heralded Base Rate rise from the Bank of England finally arrived at the start of the month, with the Monetary Policy Committee voting unanimously for a 0.25% increase to 0.75% – but this wasn’t the only notable movement.
There are signs of life in the property market as RICS has said that more properties have come to market than any time since August 2013 and Rightmove has confirmed that total available housing stock has increased by 2.1%.
Knight Frank has also indicated a more positive outlook, saying that the number of new prospective buyers in prime central London was 31% higher in June than the same month last year.
According to the estate agent, the total value of £10 million plus sales in June 2018 was £407 million, which is the highest monthly total since December 2014, highlighting the strength of underlying demand for prime central London property despite a period marked by political uncertainty.
Halifax has echoed this positive sentiment, reporting that house prices across the country picked up in July, with the annual rate of growth rising from 1.8% in June to 3.3% in July, which was the largest increase since last November.
A quick look at this month’s UK-wide HPI releases...
|Nationwide||Jul 18||Jun 18||May 18|
The Nationwide is the world's largest building society, and one of UK's largest mortgage providers. *Seasonally adjusted.
Robert Gardner, Chief Economist, Nationwide:
Annual price growth remains within fairly narrow circa 2-3% and has prevailed over the past 12 months. Looking ahead, subdued economic activity and pressure on household budgets is likely to drag on market activity and price growth, though borrowing costs are likely to remain low. Overall, we continue to expect house prices to rise by around 1% over 2018.
The Rate Rise:
On 2nd August 2018, the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) increased the Bank Rate from 0.5% to 0.75%.
Providing the economy does not weaken further, the impact on households is likely to be modest as only a small proportion of borrowers will be directly impacted.
In recent years, the majority of mortgages have been extended on fixed rates. Indeed, the share of variable rates has fallen to its lowest level on record, at circa 35%, from a peak of 70% in 2001.
Moreover, a 0.25% increase is likely to have a modest impact on most variable rate borrowers. On an average mortgage, this would raise monthly payments £16 to £700 (circa £190 per year).
The MPC signalled it expects any further increases to be gradual and limited, with financial market pricing suggesting a rise to around 1.25% over the next 5 years.
However, household budgets have been under pressure for some time as wages have not been rising as fast as the cost of living. A small proportion of households already have a relatively high debt service burden and the English Housing Survey suggests circa 12% spend over 30% of gross income on their mortgage. For those, a rise will be a struggle, even though the impact on the wider economy and most households is likely to be modest.
|Halifax||Jul 2018||Jun 2018||May 2018|
The Halifax House Price Index is the UK's longest running monthly house price series. *Seasonally adjusted.
Russell Galley, Managing Director, Halifax Community Bank:
While the quarterly and annual rates of price growth have improved, activity remains soft. Latest data for new buyer enquiries and agreed sales suggest approvals will remain broadly flat until the end 2018.
However, the labour market remains robust, with employment rising by 137,000 in the 3 months to May. Pressures on household finances are also easing as average earnings continue to rise at a faster rate than consumer prices. With regards to the recent rise in the Bank of England Base Rate, we do not anticipate that this will have a significant effect on either mortgage affordability or transaction volumes.
HMRC: Sales fell 3% to 96,340 in June. Over Q2 2018 sales were unchanged from Q1 2018. Transaction volumes have been broadly flat over the past 12 months and are likely to remain so.
Bank of England: Mortgage approvals grew 1.4% May to June to 65,619 – 2nd highest this year. Some encouraging signs with approvals up 4.1% since April, however, demand remains weak.
RICS: Activity remains steady. New buyer enquiries have been flat or falling for 18 months, whilst agreed sales deteriorated May to June. On supply, new instructions, which had fallen for 26 months have edged up in the past 2 months.
HMLR/ONS: Average UK prices rose +3.0% in the year to June 2018 (lowest annual rate since August 2013, having slowed since mid-2016 and remained under 5% through 2017 and 2018). Slowdown over the past 2 years is driven mainly by slowdown in the south and east of England. The lowest annual growth was in London (-0.7%). This is the lowest since September 2009. By type, average price for semi-detached houses rose highest at +4.4% in the year to June 2018, while flats and maisonettes were lowest at +0.5%. Weaker growth in flats and maisonettes driven by slowdown in London, accounting for circa 25% of UK flats and maisonette sales. London continued as the region with the highest average house price (£477,000), followed by the South East and the East of England (£325,000 and £293,000 respectively).
Rightmove House Price Index
Annual sales agreed (-0.8%) steady with some upturn in prices and Autumn buyer activity.
The major drag on the national average is the subdued London and South East commuter-belt markets – if excluded the remainder saw -1.5%, compared with -2.3%.
Buyers have more choice this month compared to last, with total available stock being up 2.1%. The average time to sell has increased by 3% to just over 8 weeks.
Opportunity for FTBs as the price of newly-marketed property in their target sector (=< 2 bedrooms) falls -1.8% to 3 year low of £477,421 (-6% from peak £506,755 in April 2016).
Rightmove Asking Price Data for London
|Category||Average Asking Price (August 2018)||Monthly Change||Annual Change|
By Travel Zone
By Market Sector in London
|Second - Steppers||£678,666||-4.10%||-1.70%|
|Top of the Ladder||£1,331,667||-2.20%||+4.6%|
National Average for Comparison
By London Borough (3 month rolling average)
|Kensington and Chelsea||£1,612,067||-3.00%||2.40%|
|Barking and Dagenham||£317,574||0.10%||1.90%|
|Kingston upon Thames||£616,255||0.60%||-2.40%|
|Richmond upon Thames||£809,331||-2.00%||-2.80%|
|Hammersmith and Fulham||£886,670||-2.00%||-6.00%|
Miles Shipside, Director and Housing Market Analyst, Rightmove:
Sellers who come to market in the peak holiday month often have a pressing need to sell and price down accordingly, and are offering ‘summer sale’ prices to entice holiday-distracted buyers. With lacklustre wage growth, more buyers are bumping up against tighter lending criteria following the Mortgage Market Review of 2014, intended to prevent another boom bust cycle.
New sellers motivated by the 18-week Christmas deadline need to agree a sale to a buyer much more quickly than the average 8 weeks that it takes, and perhaps also compress the average 13 weeks between agreeing a sale to moving in. That’s a total of 21 weeks that they need to try and cut down.
In spite of political uncertainty, sales agreed are holding steady and it is usual for an upturn in prices and buyer activity as we head into Autumn, especially if sellers maintain cheaper pricing to attract buyers.
Sellers and their agents who are pricing very attractively in order to beat the averages should also ensure both the seller and their buyer have the necessary financial and legal preparation in place. Lack of up-front preparation leads to legal, mortgage or cash availability hold-ups and can add weeks.
The cheapest sector made up of properties typically bought by FTBs, investors, and landlords has fallen this month resulting in a 3 year asking price low. The fall has been exacerbated by investors and landlords exiting the market as falling capital values and a raft of tax changes put off potential investors. Prices are still very high by national standards and aspiring FTBs still need a high income and substantial deposit, but the withdrawal of investors and landlords has helped lower average prices in this cheapest sector. FTBs who can afford to buy have a chance to do so at a cheaper price than any time in the past 3 years.
RICS – UK Residential Market Survey
Supply & Stock
New buyer enquiries were little changed over the month at +2%.
New instructions were similarly flat, following 2 months of very modest increases.
Appraisals remain negative. Average agent stock is likely to remain close to historic lows.
Latest results generally reflect the regional skew in performance:
>£1m - Circa 20% sold more than -10% below asking. 75% cite some discount.
£500k - £1m - Circa 2% sold more than -10% below asking. 62% cite some discount.
<£500k - Largest share achieving asking price. Significantly, 20% completed above asking.
The price balance edged up from +3% to +4% in July, following 2 months of very slightly negative results. Meanwhile, newly agreed sales remained close to 0% for the 4th month.
From a national perspective, results are consistent with a broadly stable market and continue to suggest stronger markets in Scotland, Northern Ireland, the north, Midlands and Wales. London was little changed over the month.
New landlord Instructions in the last 3 months slipped to -9% (9th negative quarter).
Tenant demand remains resilient and positive at +11% in the latest 3 month period.
Following this imbalance, expectations for rental growth appear to be strengthening again. Over the next 12 months, rents are projected to rise circa +2% nationally, but the shortfall is more visible in the medium term, cumulatively rising circa +15% by the middle of 2023.
UK Finance Press Release
UK Mortgage Lending Data for June 2018
|Type of Borrower||Volume / Value||Monthly Change||3 Month Change||Annual Change|
First time buyers*
BTL house purchasers
|Borrower Basics||Age||Household Income||Loan Size||Loan to Value|
|* Average first-time buyer:||30||£42,200||£145,364||82.0%|
|** Average homemover:||39||£56,403||£185,495||73.6%|
Jackie Bennett, Director of Mortgages, UK Finance:
Despite house price growth moderating, it remains above earnings growth, and affordability is still a challenge for many. Alongside this, speculation of a base rate rise saw declines in purchaser activity.
Remortgaging dominates at +13% on June 2017 as 2/3 year products end and borrowers seek new deals.
Although the full impact has yet to be felt, tax and regulatory changes continue to stall BTL activity.
Mortgage Arrears & Possessions
|Q2 2018||Extent of Arrears ( % of outstanding balance)||No. in Arrears / Possessions||Comparative to Q2 2017|
Jackie Bennett, Director of Mortgages, UK Finance:
Arrears and possessions are at an all-time historic low since in over 24 years.
While this is positive, last week’s base rate rise coupled with the disappointing uptake of the Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) loan could see arrears creeping up in the coming months.
With over 90% of new loans taken out at fixed rates, most recent borrowers will see no immediate impact. However, anyone with concerns about managing their mortgage should contact their lender.
NAEA – Housing Report – June 2018
Demand & Supply
House hunters per estate agent branch fell -12% from 351 in May to 308 in June. This is the lowest recorded since March 2018 and 20% lower than June 2017, at 384.
Properties available per branch rose in June, from 37 to 39 (37 also in June 2017). At a 5-year comparison, available properties are down 15% from 46.
Sales agreed per branch rose from 8 in May to 9 in June, as buyers push through summer property transactions. However, this is -18% on June 2017 at 11 sales per branch.
The proportion of sales to FTBs rose +5% to 29% in June – highest since February 2018.
79% properties sold for under original asking price in June (17 % at original asking price).
Mark Hayward, Chief Executive, NAEA
We have seen a rise in the number of sales which is typical of this time of year as buyers and sellers seek to complete ahead of the quieter holiday period. If a seller is hoping to avoid the summer slowdown and is looking to market their home once this has passed, they can spend some time over the coming months ensuring their home is ready for sale, whether it be decluttering, or refreshing the décor.
Savills – UK Housing Market Update – August 2018
Positive Signs for Price Growth & Activity
RICS: More surveyors reported rising stock in June than any time since Aug-13, and almost as many reported buyer enquiries falling. This may translate into rising activity in time, but transaction numbers in May showed nearly all regions around 10% down on 2017.
Despite falling transactions, other economic factors have led the MPC to hike the base rate to 0.75%. This is expected to pass on to borrowers in due course (+£137 per year for an average household), although the volume of fixed rate mortgages will lessen the short-term impact. It will increase pressure alongside negligible earnings growth over recent years, however, there are signs real wages may be increasing, offsetting rising rate costs.
Biggest falls remain in London (Kensington & Chelsea -7.5%, Westminster and Islington circa -5%). Annual rental change in London is also the weakest performer at -0.2%.
Market in Minutes: Prime London Residential
Prices in highest value locations fell an average -0.9% over Q2 2018 (-17.6% on 2014 peak). Annual falls at -3.8% are a marginal improvement on -4.2% seen at the end of Q1.
Huge variation in performance: Top-performing 10% of PCL properties by price growth have held their own in the past year (+0.2%) and are just -1.5% from peak 2014 values. By contrast, the weakest 10% lost circa -32% in the same period (-7.7% in past 12 months).
Across POL, values have tracked PCL over the recent past, falling -0.9% Q2 2018 and -4.1% over the year. As prices generally stood up better than more central locations in the wake of the 2014 SDLT changes, they are only -7.3% below their peak.
Extremes are also marked in POL markets. Top-performing properties have had price growth of +9.9% since 2014, despite falls of -8.9% in the past 2 years. However, the weakest slice is down -23.7%, a 33.6% gap between the top and bottom of the market.
Spotlight: Prime Residential Rents
The prime rental market has fallen for the 10th consecutive quarter across London.
Over 12 months, prime rents have fallen -2.7% in London and -1.5% in the commuter belt.
PCL had the largest correction, falling -4.8% annually (slower than the previous year, suggesting the imbalance of supply to demand is starting to even out).
Flats have generally performed better than houses, e.g. Earl’s Court rents for flats fell just -1.2% over the past year, compared with a -4.9% for houses.
POL had a smaller correction, down -1.7%, ranging from -1.0% in prime North / East (e.g. Islington / Canary Wharf), to -2.2% across South / West (e.g. Clapham / Richmond).
Over Q2 2018, rents in the prime commuter zone increased +0.8%, yet fell -1.5% annually.
|5 Year Forecast||2018||2019||2020||2021||2022||5 Year Compound|
|Prime Commuter Zone||-1.0%||1.0%||2.0%||3.0%||3.0%||8.2%|
*Second hand rental market only.
Knight Frank - Prime London Residential Market Update
New prospective buyer numbers in PCL were +31% in June 2018 than June 2017. Despite political uncertainty, the upwards trend highlights the strength of underlying demand.
Total value of £10 million+ sales in June 2018 was £407 million (highest month since December 2014). It highlights the strength of underlying demand for PCL.
The number of properties withdrawn from sale fell -31% annually in June, suggesting asking prices now reflect buyer expectations as higher rates of SDLT are priced in.
Viewings per office were +18% annually in June, reflecting the resilience of underlying demand and also price-sensitive buyers undertaking more viewings before offering.
Listings at <£2,000 per week rose +0.5% in the year to June, according to Rightmove data.
Annual rental value growth was +1.1% in June (2nd month of growth after 28 of decline).
Tenancies agreed were +17% in the year to June than the previous 12-month period.
Values between £500 - £750 per week declined less than any other price bracket. It has been the strongest-performing price band since the start of the year.
In other news…
Worth A Flutter: The Independent
A couple is raffling off their luxury mansion after realising a difficult market around Brexit and high-end Stamp Duty changes were making it near impossible to sell their home.
Located on the edge of North London in Hertfordshire, Dancers Hill House is a Georgian Grade II listed mansion arranged over 7,500sqft and includes 6 bedrooms, 2 lounges, cinema room, gym, wine room, 4 acres of grounds, and a 1.5 acre lake stocked with over 2,000 fish. And it could all be yours for a £13.50 ticket.
A savvy decision by the current owners, while the estimated value is £5.25m, they stand to potentially raise £8.1m, should all 600,000 tickets sell.
To enter the competition, interested parties must first answer a question, then purchase a ticket. The closing date for the competition is 16th December 2018, or earlier if all tickets are sold. The winner will be drawn at random..
Deposit Dismay: Evening Standard
Halifax: Average London starter home is £420,000, with deposit of £114,952 (27%).
This deposit would comfortably buy outright a 3-bedroom terrace in North Yorkshire; a 2-bedroom cottage in the Midlands, or a 1/2-bedroom flat in Norfolk or parts of Essex.
Despite prohibitive entry costs, the number of London FTBs keeps rising. Over 150,000 got on to the property ladder in the last year, compared to 72,700 in 2009.
35% 18-34 year olds plan to save a deposit remaining at home, sidestepping private rent.
HomeLet: Annual rent of average London property is almost £20,000 per year, with the average London renter paying £1,615 a month, up more than 3% in the past year.
In the rest of the UK the average monthly rent is £777, up 1% year on year.
The price increases mean ‘Generation Rent’ now spend 36.2% on housing costs.
Russell Galley, Managing Director, Halifax: It’s not surprising that the average age of a FTB has crept to 31. Despite [rising prices and high deposits] the number of FTBs continues to growas government measures, such as Help to Buy, and record low mortgage rates continue to make buying more financially attractive than renting, with average savings of £900 a year.
Out on Bail: BBC
Lenders will write to thousands of "mortgage prisoners" currently paying high interest rates with a potential offer to move to a better deal.
Up to 10,000 homeowners are trapped in their current deal paying high rates, where they took out mortgages before new, stricter rules on affordability were introduced in 2014.
Financial Conduct Authority (FCA): An interim report, published in May highlighted the plight of these borrowers where they were unable to move to a better deal when their existing mortgages switched to more expensive standard variable rates.
This is the result of stricter affordability checks after the original deal was agreed.
The FCA have identified about 150,000 such customers, of whom about 30,000 were with authorised mortgage lenders, while about 120,000 were held by non-regulated firms - including some previous Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley customers.
Some 10,000 are with lenders who are still actively operating in the mortgage market.
It is some of the people in this group that are designed to be helped by a commitment among 59 lenders to help them to find better deals. Assuming they are currently keeping up with repayments, the commitment - organised by trade body UK Finance - means they will receive a letter from their existing lender outlining similar, but cheaper, deals available.
Others want to make it easier for borrowers to see what mortgage products they can qualify for earlier in the application process, and to assess and compare products. However, UK Finance has yet to offer any solutions to this. It believes new technology should be given time to aid price comparisons, before any regulatory intervention.
A Matter of Interest: BBC
Alongside voting unanimously to raise interest rates from 0.5% to 0.75%, Bank of England policymakers have suggested falling house prices in London are unlikely to spread.
Despite past experience suggesting the rest of the market follows London, the bank outlined 3 reasons why London was likely to be the exception rather than the rule:
1 - London's higher prices are more affected by borrowing limits and tax changes.
2 - The BTL market, hit by a stamp duty surcharge, is more concentrated in London.
3 - Brexit uncertainty has triggered a fall in net EU migration. This has hit London more than elsewhere because many live in the capital.
Release the Beast: BBC
UK pension companies may be harbouring £ billions of losses from home equity release loans, according to research.
Equity release works like this: Borrowers aged of 55+ take out a percentage of the value of their house. There are no repayments as it is repaid when the borrower dies or moves into care. Interest is added, and because of compound interest, the loans can grow in size very quickly. However, borrowers are safe. The loans come with a guarantee they won't have to repay more than the value of the house. Any difference is absorbed by the lender.
That's fine for the borrower, but there are fears lenders have underestimated how much these loans could cost them as the loan can exceed the value of the house it is secured against, especially if borrowers live longer than expected or the value of the house drops.
At least one firm assumes house price rises of 4.25% a year. If they don't, the firm faces losses, or even bailouts. Such providers are gambling prices will continue to rise. A crash or period of consistent slowdown may see these loans become a loss-maker for providers.
Parliament's report was seen as broadly supportive of the industry, however, the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), which oversees the companies offering these loans, says it is considering tightening rules to stop companies assuming house prices will rise.
Providers have rebuked, with one claiming: “we set aside substantial prudent resources against UK residential property risks. We calculate these on a basis equivalent to a 28% fall in the property market and property prices never rising thereafter which is much stronger than the [...] scenarios the Bank of England prescribes for the banking sector."
Equity Release Council: Equity release mortgages are increasingly popular as older homeowners seek to top up retirement funds and in the 3 months to the end of June, homeowners aged 55+ borrowed a record £971m.
Rent Lament: BBC
RICS: Rents could rise 15% by 2023 as the supply of new rental properties dries up.
Small scale landlords are pulling out due to tax relief changes brought in last year.
However, the RICS say the full impact of the changes have yet to be felt and it is time that the government looked again at the way the private rented sector was regulated.
Simon Rubinsohn, Chief Economist, RICS: "The risk... is that a reduced pipeline of supply will gradually feed through into higher rents."
Treasury Spokesperson: "We want to realise the dream of home ownership for a new generation, and that's why we introduced a cut to [SDLT] for [FTBs], and have built 1.1m additional homes since 2010".
Building Barriers: BBC
Federation of Master Builders: House-building across half of England is slower than it was before the financial crash. 52% of councils saw fewer homes built in 2017 than 2007.
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG): Last year saw the largest percentage increase in new homes in 9 years with 217,000 (+15%) ( ⅔ government target of 300,000). This is alongside an programme of reforms, including planning and targeted investment to help deliver an additional 300,000 a year by the mid-2020s.
However, 80% local authorities saw fewer homes built than the government estimates they need. James Prestwich, Head of Policy, National Housing Federation says circa 340,000 homes should be built in England every year.
4 ways commentators tackle the housing crisis:
1 - Simplify the planning process. The planning system has become much more complex, difficult and costly to navigate.
2 - Build in cities. There's been a massive failure to build enough housing in the cities where demand has been highest over the past 25 or 30 years.
3 - Attract developers. The only way you can deliver more is by having more developers in an area, and that helps increase delivery.
4 - Drop nimbyism. A campaign group is demanding urgent action from authorities to address the housing crisis under the banner Yes In My Back Yard.
We hope you find this market insight informative, however, should you have any queries or recommendations on this or any of our other articles, please contact us
Sources & Further Reading
|Halifax House Price Index||Halifax||07/08/2018||Find out more|
|Nationwide House Price Index||Nationwide||August 2018||Find out more|
|Rightmove - House Price Index||Rightmove||August 2018||Find out more|
|HMLR - House Price Index (June 2018)||HMLR||15/08/2018||Find out more|
|RICS UK Residential Market Survey - July 2018||RICS||09/08/2018||Find out more|
|House purchase activity slows in June but remortgaging activity remains high||UK Finance||14/08/2018||Find out more|
|Mortgage arrears and possessions continue to remain historically low||UK Finance||09/08/2018||Find out more|
|Money and Credit (Mortgage lending) - June 2018||Bank of England||30/07/2018||Find out more|
|Housing Report - June 2018||NAEA||August 2018||Find out more|
|Prime Central London Sales Index - July 2018||Knight Frank||July 2018||Find out more|
|Prime Central London Rental Index - July 2018||Knight Frank||July 2018||Find out more|
|UK Residential Market Update - July 2018||Knight Frank||July 2018||Find out more|
|UK Housing Market Update - August 2018||Savills||06/08/2018||Find out more|
|Market in Minutes: Prime London residential||Savills||25/07/2018||Find out more|
|Spotlight: Prime residential rents||Savills||25/07/2018||Find out more|
|House prices rise the fastest in West Midlands||BBC - Business||15/08/2018||Find out more|
|UK house-building 'below pre-crash levels'||BBC - England||14/08/2018||Find out more|
|Supply shortage could push rents up 15% says RICS||BBC - Business||09/08/2018||Find out more|
|UK house price growth accelerates, Halifax says||BBC - Business||07/08/2018||Find out more|
|Home equity release may cost pension firms billions||BBC - Business||07/08/2018||Find out more|
|Interest rates: Five things we learned from the Bank of England||BBC - Business||02/08/2018||Find out more|
|UK house prices pick-up in July||BBC - Business||01/08/2018||Find out more|
|Commitment to help 'mortgage prisoners'||BBC - Business||31/07/2018||Find out more|
|Couple Sells £13.50 Raffle Tickets For Their £5 Million Mansion||The Independent||09/08/2018||Find out more|
|London first-time buyer deposits hit £115k — which can buy an entire house elsewhere in the UK||Evening Standard - Homes & Property||14/08/2018||Find out more|