Nationwide HPI – “national average as misleading as it is insipid” says Garrington Property Finders

Jonathan Hopper, managing director of Garrington Property Finders, comments on the Nationwide HPI:

“Two steps forward, one step back – Nationwide’s annual rate of price growth has barely shifted from where it was a year ago.

“It’s tempting to see such a meandering market as the fruit of a cautious consensus. Instead it’s a byproduct of the collision of three conflicting forces; pent-up demand, low supply and patchy confidence.

“With activity levels slowly picking up, the rising tension is creating some big regional anomalies – making the national average as misleading as it is insipid.

“The future course of the market is balanced on a knife edge. With the Bank of England set to notch up interest rates tomorrow, the prospect of more expensive mortgages should jolt some previously hesitant buyers into action. Yet any extra impetus is likely to be immediate but ephemeral.

“By contrast, the forces holding back the market will get steadily stronger if the UK sleepwalks into a no-deal Brexit.

“If the prospect of Britain crashing out of the EU continues its shift from long shot to likely, the top end of the market could slip into full retreat as investment buyers go into lockdown.

“For everyone else, softening prices and better affordability will create buying opportunities – particularly for the bold and strategic – in what will become an increasingly fractured market.

“Two years of economic and political uncertainty have done little to repair what the government calls Britain’s ‘broken’ property market. If the traditionally busy ‘back to school’ months ahead fail to deliver greater confidence, the shattered pieces of the market will drift further apart.”