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First time buyers replacing landlords but market remains flat, says Nationwide

Drop in transactions would be more severe if Help to Buy scheme hadn't boosted FTBs sales, figures show.

Nigel Lewis

The number of homes sold every year is still 30% lower than the 2007 peak before the financial crash, the Nationwide has confirmed within its latest house price index.

Its analysis of Land Registry figures shows that 1.2 million homes were sold during the 12 months to the end of September and that the market remains relatively subdued.

The building society also says house price rises are at their lowest for five years at 1.6% a year, its latest October figures show, below the figures of between 2-3% seen over the past 12 months.

“This was broadly in line with our expectations, as the squeeze on household budgets and the uncertain economic outlook is likely to have dampened demand, even though borrowing costs remain low by historic standards and unemployment is at 40-year lows,” says Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist (left).

“We continue to expect house prices to rise by around 1% over the course of 2018.”

The reduction in demand, transactions and prices is largely down to a marked reduction in the number of both cash buyers and buy-to-let investors in the market.

First time buyers

But while the government takes away from landlords with one hand, it gives to first time buyers with the other.

The number of people getting on to the property ladder with a mortgage has been increasing, the Nationwide says, helped largely by the billions spent by the government on Help to Buy.

“The property market may have dodged another Stamp Duty bullet in Monday’s Budget but in many areas it remains caught in the crosshairs of weak confidence and stagnating prices,” says Jonathan Hopper, Managing Director of Garrington Property Finders (right).

“The South East’s slowdown is starting to spread to a few other regions, but the lion’s share of the blame for the increasingly glacial pace of national price growth lies with the falls seen in London.”

November 1, 2018

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