UK House Prices dip good news for first time buyers

Keeping up to date with the latest news in the property markets is one reason why people keep reading the Richard Carr blog. I always try to keep my finger on the pulse of the very latest property news. Recently, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) released their latest figures on UK house prices.

The figures show that house prices went up by 5.2% in the year to July 2015. The figures are a slight drop on last month which showed a rise of 5.7% year ending June 2015. If you exclude London and the South East which tend to have much higher prices than the rest of the country, the average annual growth rate is 4.4%.

Average house prices

Looking at the figures the ONS released in more detail shows that the average house price in England as of July 2015 was £295,000. Wales’ average house price was £173,000, Northern Ireland’s average house price was £154,000 and the average house price in Scotland stands at £196,000.

Obviously London is leading all the regions and the average property price in the capital is now around £525,000, while the North East has the lowest prices with the average being £156,000. The data also shows that as of July 2015 the average price paid by first time buyers was 4.4% higher than in July 2014.

Weak supply

Various industry commentators have looked at the figures and come to the conclusion that weak supply and lack of new housing stock is the main reason that prices keep rising. The slight dip in the figures month on month may be due to new lending rules that are preventing people from getting mortgages.

Employment figures are looking positive at the moment, and the economy seems to be in decent shape. However, there still appears to be a tiny bit of uncertainty in the market and a lot of first time buyers and current home owners who want to move property may be sitting on their hands, waiting to see if the market changes. It’s true that people also want to pay down as much debt as they can before they move property, or purchase a property for the first time.

Affordable mortgages

I see the slight slowdown in the market as positive news for first time buyers, however, I worry about the availability of good, affordable mortgage products for those looking to get onto the property ladder for the first time.

Without the help of the Bank of Mum and Dad, I feel that many young people are still priced out of the market due to the size of deposit needed to secure a mortgage offer. Although the price gap between 75% and 95% LTV mortgages has narrowed, there still aren’t enough products out there to help first time buyers. Help to buy is just a temporary fix to what will become a permanent problem, the government really needs to look at the mortgage market and find ways to support those people who have the ambition to be homeowners.