House prices drop after mortgage rates rise

mortgage rates

The Nationwide Building Society estimated the average price of a house dropped 0.4% in April after a 0.2% decline the month before

UK house prices dropped at the sharpest pace in eight months after the cost of mortgages inched up, according to one of the country’s biggest lenders.

The Nationwide Building Society estimated the average price of a house dropped 0.4% in April after a 0.2% decline the month before. Economists had expected a 0.1% monthly rise.

The result followed a paring back of bets on BoE interest rate cuts this year, which raised the cost of home loans in markets. That has strained the ability of people to afford to purchase a property, with prices remaining near records despite recent declines.

The slowdown likely reflects ongoing affordability pressures, with longer-term interest rates increasing in recent months, reversing the steep decline seen around the turn of the year, Robert Gardner, chief economist at Nationwide, said in a report Wednesday.

The average cost of a home is now £261,962, which is around 4% below the high in the summer of 2022. Prices have stagnated over the last year, up just 0.6%. That is much less than the 1.2% gain economists had expected.

Nationwide said research it did with Censuswide found that nearly half of the prospective FTBs looking to secure a home in the next five years have delayed their plans.

Among this group, the most commonly cited reason for delaying their purchase is that house prices are too high (53%), but it is also notable that 41% said that higher mortgage costs were preventing them from buying, Nationwide said.

Another 55% of people said they would be willing to buy in a cheaper area of the country or where they could get a bigger property – half were willing to move more than 30 miles away.

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