One of Britain’s biggest mortgage lenders is predicting house prices to rise by up to 4pc in 2019, following a turbulent year in which growth lingered around the 1pc mark.
Halifax said that while house price growth in 2018 was very much within its forecast range of 0-3pc, stability would return to the market in 2019 with growth of between 2pc and 4pc.
Russell Galley, managing director, said: “This is slightly stronger than 2018, but still fairly subdued by modern comparison. However, this expectation will clearly be dependent on the Brexit outcome, with risks to both sides of our forecast.”
The prediction is one of the most bullish in the industry, with estate agent Jackson-Stops expecting an average increase of 1pc in property values in 2019, while agent Strutt & Parker has forecast growth to be 2.5pc for the year.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has predicted that national house price growth will come to a “standstill” in 2019, but a supply shortage “will negate outright falls”.
According to Halifax, house prices in Britain stabilised in December, with annual growth up 1.3pc.
On a monthly basis, prices increased by 2.2pc in December, following a 1.2pc fall in November, boosting the average house price to £229,729.
The figures contrast with those published by Nationwide last week, which showed annual growth of just 0.5pc in December, its weakest level since February 2013.
Nationwide said the uncertain economic outlook was undermining consumer confidence in the market, “given that it has occurred against a backdrop of solid employment growth, stronger wage growth and continued low borrowing costs”.
Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said that if the economy continued to grow at a modest pace, and the uncertain economic outlook lifts, “things should start to pick up to normal levels of about 2pc in 2019”.
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.
Property expert Russell Quirk said the resilience of the nation’s bricks and mortar backbone “continues to shine through and defy the naysayers”.
“While the year ahead will be a tough one, it’s likely that once the dust does settle on our EU exit, the damage will be far less than predicted,” he added.