In welcome news for those trying to get on the housing ladder, latest figures from Nationwide have revealed that house price growth has softened slightly this month, which means that prices shouldn't be surging ahead too much over the festive period.
The data shows that average house prices have risen by 3.7% since November 2014 (down from the annual growth rate of 3.9% recorded in October) and by just 0.1% in the last month, a notable drop from the monthly growth rate of 0.5% recorded previously, which puts the price of a typical home in the UK at £196,305 for November.
Happily, this paints a more positive, sustainable picture for the UK housing market, with annual growth rates having hovered around the 3-4% mark for the past six months. This is a far cry from the rates of 11%+ recorded last summer and is also broadly consistent with earnings growth, the report noted, which hopefully means that buyers won't find the price rises such a stretch to accommodate.
However, as ever, the long-term picture depends on the rate of housebuilding, because it's only if enough homes are built to cope with rising demand that price increases will remain sustainable.
"Surveyors have continued to report a dearth of properties on the market in recent months, with the number of available homes reportedly at the lowest level since the late 1970s," said Robert Gardner, Nationwide's chief economist. Therefore it is positive that policymakers are focusing on the need to increase home building, with the Chancellor announcing a range of measures aimed at boosting housing supply in his Autumn Statement."
It's hoped that the promise of 400,000 new homes being built by 2020 will ease the supply/demand imbalance somewhat, but in the meantime you'll want to do everything you can to ensure that housing costs don't become too difficult to manage. One of the best ways to ensure that is by having a decent mortgage, because even if prices continue to rise, having a low-rate fixed deal will ensure that your repayments remain manageable. So, check out the mortgage best buys and see if you can make the most of the market.
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