UK Housing Price Index released

The UK Housing Price Index has just been released, and the headline statistics for February 2024 regarding UK property prices and related data are:

  1. Average Property Price: The average price of a property in the UK was £281,000.
  2. Annual Price Change: The annual price change for a property in the UK was -0.2%.
  3. Monthly Price Change: The monthly price change for a property in the UK was 0.4%.
  4. Monthly Index Figure: The monthly index figure (January 2015 = 100) for the UK was 147.2.
  5. Annual Price Change by Country:
    • England: -1.1%
    • Wales: -1.2%
    • Scotland: +5.6%
    • Northern Ireland: +1.4% (for the year to Quarter 4 2023)
  6. Regional Price Changes:
    • Highest Annual Inflation: North East (+2.9%)
    • Lowest Annual Inflation: London (-4.8%)
  7. Buyer Demand and Market Conditions:
    • RICS reported an increase in buyer demand for the second successive month.
    • The Bank of England’s Agents reported a gradual improvement in the market, likely driven by easing mortgage interest rates.
  8. Property Transactions:
    • Estimated property transactions in February 2024: 83,000 (seasonally adjusted), representing a 5.6% decrease compared to February 2023.
    • Mortgage approvals for house purchases increased to 60,400 in February 2024.
  9. Property Types:
    • Detached properties saw a 0.5% increase in average price compared to February 2023.
    • Semi-detached properties saw a 0.7% increase in average price compared to February 2023.
    • Terraced and flat/maisonette properties both saw a decrease in average price compared to February 2023.
  10. Buyer Status and Funding Status:
    • First-time buyer average price: £234,654, with a monthly change of +0.7% and an annual change of -0.3%.
    • Former owner occupier average price: £326,376, with a monthly change of +0.2% and an annual change of -0.3%.
    • Cash-funded average price: £266,015, with a monthly change of +0.2% and an annual change of -0.5%.
    • Mortgage-funded average price: £292,229, with a monthly change of +0.6% and an annual change of -0.2%.

These statistics provide a comprehensive overview of the UK property market dynamics in February 2024, reflecting changes in average prices, regional variations, buyer behavior, and funding patterns.

Industry comments:

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says: “With inflation continuing to move towards the Bank of England’s 2 per cent target, it’s time for the rate setters to be bold and start cutting interest rates. There is a sense that buyers and sellers are holding fire waiting for that first rate reduction, and when it comes, it will give the housing market a welcome boost.

“Falling interest rates have a knock-on effect on Swap rates, which underpin the pricing of fixed-rate mortgages. Five-year Swap rates rose this morning to 4.21 per cent from 4.14 per cent yesterday and until they are consistently falling, lenders are unlikely to reduce mortgage rates further.”

Amy Reynolds, head of sales at Richmond estate agency Antony Roberts, says: “There has been a noticeable increase in second viewings and offers coming in since the Easter bank holiday.

“Conversations around rate rises are not as prevalent as they were last year. Plenty of buyers are delaying making their move in the hope of better mortgage terms in the future, which is understandable but risky as any drop in base rate could push house prices higher. However, a counter to that may be that some sellers are also delaying until the first rate cut before coming to market, which may balance supply and demand and steady prices.

“If inflation continues to fall, albeit slowly, a rate reduction is needed to ensure the delay is not viewed as a sign of economic uncertainty or weakness. This would dampen overall market sentiment, affecting both buyers and sellers.”

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, says: “Of all the housing market surveys, this one is arguably the most interesting, not just because it covers about six times more than the major lenders’ transactions but it also includes cash buyers who have supported activity so crucially recently when mortgage payments have been in an uncertain phase.

“Now rates have stabilised and the next move is likely to be downwards, particularly following lower inflation announced today, with demand improving.

“Sellers have also been busy and the net result is more choice while prices are up a bit and down a bit – a pattern we expect to continue over the next few months.”

Anna Clare Harper, CEO of sustainable investment adviser GreenResi, says: “The average house price was down 0.2 per cent in nominal terms since last year, to £281,000. This reduction in nominal pricing was led by London at -4.8 per cent.

“Although London remains an attractive city, there are clear reasons for this: first and foremost it is not affordable to people who work in the city, who on average earn £44,370 before tax each year. This puts extra pressure on the rental market, since many people want to live near where they work, but cannot afford to buy.

“The same is true in many other parts of the UK. What we can see from the London market is that a reduction in house prices of 5 per cent is barely relevant from an affordability perspective: more significant are borrowing costs.”

Tomer Aboody, director of property lender MT Finance, says: “With prices increasing month-on-month, we are seeing the strength in demand and confidence within buyers who are taking advantage of steading interest rates and lower inflation. 

“However, with sales volumes considerably lower than last year, higher demand versus lower supply will always push prices up.

“Sellers need to be encouraged to move in order to increase availability of stock in the market, and some movement in stamp duty rates would help.”






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