House prices up 0.1% in the UK in November, latest growth index shows

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House prices across the UK increased by 0.1% in November but softened slightly year on year with annual growth of 3.7%, down from 3.9% in October. The latest data from lender the Nationwide shows it was the weakest performance in monthly price growth since June 2015. The latest increase takes the average house price to £196,807. But Nationwide chief economist Robert Gardner pointed out that growth rates have fluctuated throughout the year. Annual growth has been in a fairly narrow range between 3% and 4% over the past six months, which he said is broadly consistent with earnings growth over the longer term. ‘While this bodes well for a sustainable increase in housing market activity in the period ahead, much will depend on whether building activity can keep pace with increasing demand. 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 Gardner. ‘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,’ he explained. ‘The current rate of construction activity is well below the projected rate of household formation. Only 135,000 new homes were built in England in the 12 months to September 2015, well below the 220,000 new households that are projected to form each year over the next decade,’ he added. Neal Hudson, associate director at Savills research, described the figures as showing a relatively strong end to the year. ‘Previous trends suggest that prices tend to weaken in December and so the 4.1% total growth seen in the year to date may be closer to 4% by the end of the year. These price rises are in a large part due to increased competition in the mortgage market which have led to record low mortgage rates and record high lending multiples,’ he added. According to Alex Gosling, chief executive officer of online estate agents HouseSimple, the main issue in today’s market is that demand continues to massively outstripping supply. ‘We have an immediate supply crisis in the UK and it's hard to see how home builders can build houses fast enough to free up the demand supply bottleneck,’ he said. ‘We need measures to stimulate the housing market and it can't be just about building more homes to meet demand in the future. Sellers need to be encouraged back to the market. But home owners are finding it harder to climb up the property ladder, which means people are renovating and extending rather than moving,’ he pointed out. ‘High prices remain a barrier for first time buyers but also second and third steppers and price growth is unlikely to cool in the coming months, especially with more investors expected to come to the market to buy before the new buy to let stamp duty rates come into… Taylor Scott International

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