House price growth remains strong across the UK on an annual basis, as experts predict a polarised performance in the year ahead.
Annual house price growth in the year to October was 7.8%, according to Zoopla’s latest house price index. While inflation in the property sector has certainly slowed, there is still a long way to go before we enter negative territory in any regions or major cities.
The report did reveal though that, as predicted, there was a slowdown in both demand (-44%) and new sales (-28%) over the past year, which is largely being pinned on the after-effects of the mini-budget as well as wider market turbulence.
There has been some repricing going on in the sales market, too, over the past month, albeit relatively minor. However, the volume of asking price reductions is still below the levels recorded in 2018, while the south of England is the area to have seen the biggest asking price corrections.
Top house price rises
Zoopla’s index compares 20 cities across the UK in terms of both monthly and annual house price growth.
The location that has seen the strongest surge in prices between October 2021 and October 2022 is Nottingham, which recorded 10.5% growth. This brings the average home in the city to a price of £201,600.
In second place, Manchester saw positive house price growth of a well-above-average 9.3%, meaning the average property in the north western city now costs £219,700.
Next is the only city in the south that makes it into the top five list: Bournemouth. Here, house prices have climbed by 9% over the past 12 months, bringing them to an average £349,600.
Birmingham, which has had a stellar year sparked by the Commonwealth Games, has seen its property prices grow by 8.9% over the past year, bringing the average to £206,000.
Finally, Liverpool is in fifth place on the list, a city that has made headlines recently for its extensive regeneration efforts. The average house price there is now £155,300, having risen by 8.7% in the year to October.
Aberdeen is the only city on the list to have seen house prices fall, having done so by -1.1% during the period to £140,200. Also in Scotland, Glasgow and Edinburgh also had lower than average house price inclines, with 4.2% and 4.4% respectively.
Looking ahead to 2023
The recent turbulence and slowdown in housing market activity was largely sparked by rising mortgage rates, which climbed above 6% at one stage. This came as a shock to many homeowners and prospective buyers who had become used to the low interest rate environment post-2008.
Zoopla expects to see a total house price fall of -5% in 2023, although this is based on the prediction that mortgage rates will stabilise to 4-5% imminently. Rising borrowing rates directly impact affordability and confidence, particularly among first-time buyers, so a levelling off will be welcome.
The report notes: “The cost of finance that underpins 5-year fixed-rate mortgages (used by 6 in 10 mortgaged buyers) has fallen from 5.5% to 4.1% since early October. Lenders add a margin on top of this rate to cover risk and profit which translates into the actual mortgage rate for homebuyers.
“This means that 5-year fixed mortgage rates are likely to start 2023 at or just below 5%. This is a much better position for the housing market outlook than rates of 6.25%, but it still represents a material increase in buying costs for 7 in 10 households using mortgage finance to buy.”
Zoopla expects households to “adapt through a range of mechanisms, such as changing requirements, injecting more equity or waiting for house prices and/or mortgage rates to fall further over 2023”.
One important change that has affected the housing market is a reduction in its reliance on high loan-to-value mortgages, and this has actually been in play for a number of years now, notes Zoopla. It puts the market as a whole in a more stable position to withstand turbulence.