UK house prices are falling at the fastest annual rate since just after the financial crisis, according to new data from the Nationwide Building Society.
March saw house prices fall by 3.1% compared to a year ago, which is the largest annual decline since July 2009, Nationwide said.
Across the UK, prices fell by 0.8% month on month, leaving the average UK house price at £257,122.
All regions of the UK saw a slowing in price growth in Q1, with most seeing small year-on-year falls. West Midlands was the strongest performing region, while Scotland remained the weakest.
Simon Gerrard, Managing Director at Martyn Gerrard, said:
“The view from the ground is that the first quarter of 2023 has been a lot more positive than the recent headlines would suggest. I’m not entirely sure that the latest figures give an accurate lay of the land. Enquiry levels have remained high since the turn of the year, and there are promising signs for the property market from wider economic developments. Most notably, the Bank of England raising the base rate did not spark a widespread hiking of mortgage rates, which removes one major drag on house price growth. Some of the major lenders have actually cut rates in the latter half of March, which will have helped drive activity.
“Of course, buyers have responded to the economic turbulence that we’ve experienced this year, causing some to pause their property search. But overall, as we have seen in the past, these dips in buyer confidence tend to only be a short-term blip, with the general trajectory for house prices decisively following an upward trend. I’m hopeful for a return to growth soon, and I can guarantee that we will see house prices climb in the next five to ten years.
“Future growth will be in no small part down to the ever-widening gap between the growing population and the shortage of housing that we are dealing with in this country. The government has bent over backwards to pander to anti-development local councils and NIMBYs, making it the most difficult period in the last 50 years for developers to gain permissions to create new homes. I’m nothing short of shocked to see the current housing minister has lasted a whole month, but whether she’ll get beyond the six month mark, which the previous five have failed to do, remains to be seen. We need the government to get serious about planning reform, or we’ll soon have a generation of would-be homebuyers facing an uphill battle to find a place a live, and a mountainous task to be able to afford it.”