House prices are rising at their slowest annual pace in six years, with growth falling from 1.5pc in October to 0.3pc in November, according to the latest figures from Halifax.
On a monthly basis, house prices fell by 1.4pc, marking three monthly falls out of the last four. The average house price is now £224,578, around £3,000 cheaper than in October.
Russell Galley, Halifax’s managing director, said that while growth had fallen, it remained within the bank’s forecast range of 0-3pc for 2018.
“High employment, wage growth and historically low mortgage rates continue to make home ownership more affordable for many, though the need to raise a significant deposit still acts as something of a restraint on the market.
“This is largely offset by a relatively limited supply of new and existing properties for sale, which continues to sustain house prices nationally,” he said.
Last month, rival lender Nationwide warned that the availability of homes in the property market was “pretty much at an all time low”.
The building society’s chief executive Joe Garner said that Brexit was partly to blame for holding back investment and dampening activity in the UK housing market.
He said: “House prices remain relatively stable, [we’re] not predicting any major change to that, but the available stock of housing in the market is pretty much at an all time low,” he said. “[There’s] pent-up demand with relatively few properties on the market.”
Nationwide’s own house price index, published last week, painted a slightly rosier picture of Britain’s property market. It found that house price growth picked up slightly between October and November, rising from 1.6pc to 1.9pc, while monthly growth was also stronger than expected at 0.3pc.
Halifax’s house price index is based on homes bought with mortgages, excluding council house sales, shared ownership and help-to-buy schemes, while Nationwide’s is based on owner-occupier house purchase transactions involving a mortgage. Buy-to-let and cash deals are not counted.
Andy Soloman of Yomdel, an online chat service used by estate agents, said that while there was a seasonal aspect to the property market slowdown, “with further complications likely to arise before a deal is reached on Brexit, price growth will no doubt remain erratic heading into 2019 as market uncertainty remains”.
Jonathan Samuels, chief executive of property lender Octane Capital, agreed, saying that “without wanting to appear overly pessimistic, there’s every chance 2019 could be 2009 all over again”.
The UK housing market has slowed since the EU referendum in 2016, and many economists last year predicted growth would flatline in 2018. However, growth has mostly remained within the 1-3pc range for the past 12 months.