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There has been a slight slowdown in the rate of annual house price growth to 0.3% in July 2019, the latest Nationwide House Price Index reveals.
In fact, the latest figures show that house prices are at the lowest annual growth rate since January this year and the eighth consecutive month that monthly house price growth has remained below 1.0%. This low growth is despite the fact that UK Finance data shows in June 2019 the number of mortgages for home purchase approved by the main high street banks was 2.9% higher than in the same month the previous year.
The mortgage approval growth could be influenced by an increase in first-time buyers who are capitalising on the slow housing market and getting on the property ladder. This is highlighted by the fact that the number of first-time buyer transaction numbers have almost recovered to pre-crisis norms.
Robert Gardner, chief economist at Nationwide, said: “Annual house price growth remained below 1% for the eighth month in a row in July, at 0.3%. While house price growth has remained fairly stable, there have been mixed signals from the property market in recent months.
“Surveyors report that new buyer enquires have increased a little, though key consumer confidence indicators remain subdued. Data on the number of property transactions points to a slowdown in activity, though the number of mortgages approved for house purchase has remained broadly stable.”
He adds: “One of the key factors behind the low turnover rate is the continued weakness in home mover activity, which is still less than half the levels prevailing in 2007.
“By contrast, first-time buyer transaction numbers have now almost recovered to pre-crisis norms. This reflects the steady improvement in labour market conditions in recent years, together with historically low mortgage interest rates, and an improvement in credit availability (including the introduction of schemes such as Help to Buy).
The first-time buyer mortgage rates have remained highly competitive over the last few months. The top rate currently available in the chart is 2.59% (5.1% APRC) on a two-year fixed rate mortgage from Newcastle Building Society. The five-year fixed rate chart also offers highly competitive rates for first-time buyers with a top rate of 2.90% (4.8% APRC) also available from Newcastle Building Society.
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