House prices up by 1% last month, according to Nationwide

Nationwide has released statistics that show a 1% rise in house prices in the month of April.

A possible cause of this increase in prices is the large degree of uncertainty over the results of the upcoming general election.

Nationwide regularly release data such as this, it is normally based upon the amount of mortgages they have approved and for what sum of money. This new information shows growth reach its peak since June last year. The average price of a house in the UK is now £193,048.

There has been a dip in activity on the housing markets in recent times, with many companies reporting a drop in the amount of buyers.  This comes in spite of an ongoing battle between banks to offer mortgage rates that reach record lows.

Robert Gardener, chief economist at Nationwide, said:

ìThe strength of the economy and relatively subdued pace of activity in the housing market remains something of an anomaly.  It is possible that heightened uncertainty ahead of the election is weighing on activity, though there is no compelling evidence from previous UK elections to suggest a strong impact.î

ìHealthy labour market conditions and continued low mortgage rates should help underpin housing demand in the quarters ahead.î

IHS Global Insight’s chief economist, Howard Archer, stated:

ì[There are] increasing signs that the housing market is now starting to firm after weakening appreciably through the second half of 2014î.

ìMeanwhile, a current shortage of properties coming on to the market seems to be providing increasing support to house prices.î

The British Bankers’ Association said that the amount of mortgages offered in March had gone up, however they were still around 14% lower than in 2014.

This continuous increase in house prices is making it extremely difficult for people to purchase homes in the UK.  Many of the political parties have stated that increasing the level of home ownership in the country is one of their biggest aims.

Nationwide’s chief economist stated that while we as a country are “often characterised as a nation of homeownersî, in reality the levels are ìnot particularly highî when compared across the EU.

ìAlthough some other European nations have seen declines in their home ownership rates in recent years, the movement in the UK has been more pronounced,î

ìThat said, even at its all-time high of 73% in 2007, the UK homeownership rate was not particularly high by EU standards. Since then, there has been significant growth in the private rental sector.î

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