UK House prices declined by 0.9% from a month earlier in January, a survey released by Halifax has shown.The change means the average price of a house in Britain is now £220,260 ($272,562).
House prices in the three months to January period were 5.7% higher than in the same period a year ago, down from the 6.5% growth recorded in December.Halifax said demand for housing is likely to remain strong through the coming year but listed weaker economic growth and an expected drop in spending power as downside risks.
“The quarterly and annual rates of house price growth remain robust even though they are lower than in spring 2016,” said Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax.”UK house prices continue to be supported by an ongoing shortage of property for sale, low levels of housebuilding, and exceptionally low interest rates.
“These factors are unlikely to change materially during 2017. Nonetheless, weaker economic growth and increasing pressure on spending power, along with affordability constraints, are expected to dampen housing demand, resulting in some downward pressure on annual house price growth during the year.”
House prices in the three months to January were 2.4% higher than in the preceding quarter, Halifax said, marginally down on the 2.5% growth recorded in December.
Last month, the bank said that there were a total of 335,750 first-time home buyers in the UK in 2016 — the highest figure recorded since the financial crisis.
The average price for a first home in the UK crossed the £200,000-mark for the first time, while prospective home owners had to raise more than £32,000 for a deposit.
Meanwhile, UK house builder Bellway reported a 6.5% increase in the number of housing completions for the six months ended 31 January.
The Newcastle-based firm said demand for houses remained robust during the six-month period, supported by a competitive mortgage environment and the government’s Help to Buy scheme.