Nationwide’s latest house price index shows that the price of a typical home has risen an enormous £24,000 since the beginning of 2021.
So what else does the index reveal? And how high (or low) will house prices go in 2022? Let’s take a look.
What did the latest House Price Index reveal?
According to Nationwide, the average house now costs £254,822. This is £24,000 or 10.4% higher than a year ago. December alone has seen 1% added to the value of a typical house. This is despite the fact that the market traditionally cools towards the end of the year.
The report also reveals that Wales has witnessed the highest house price inflation in 2021. The cost of an average home in the principality now stands at £196,759. This is 15.8% higher than a year ago.
London has been the region with the slowest house price growth. The average home in the capital now costs £507,230, which is just 4.2% more than a year ago. This suggests that house prices in London are rising slower than the rate of inflation.
To sum up its final House Price Index of the year, Nationwide says the 10.4% growth in house prices is the biggest seen in a calendar year since 2006.
What does Nationwide say?
With the release of its latest Index, Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, highlights how house price growth has remained strong. He explains, “Annual house price growth remained in double digits in December at 10.4%, making 2021 the strongest calendar year performance since 2006. Prices rose by 1% month-on-month, after taking account of seasonal effects.
“The price of a typical UK home is now at a record high of £254,822, up £23,902 over the year – the largest rise we’ve seen in a single year in cash terms. Prices are now 16% higher than before the pandemic struck in early 2020.
“Demand has remained strong in recent months, despite the end of the Stamp Duty holiday at the end of September. Mortgage approvals for house purchases have continued to run above pre-pandemic levels, despite the surge in activity seen earlier in the year. Indeed, in the first 11 months of 2021, the total number of property transactions was almost 30% higher than over the same period of 2019.”
Gardner also comments on the fact that the number of homes for sale remains low. He explains, “The stock of homes on the market has remained extremely low throughout the year, which has contributed to the robust pace of price growth.”
Where will house prices go in 2022?
Despite the extraordinary surge in values during 2021, Nationwide’s Robert Gardner suggests house price inflation will slow in 2022. He explains, “It appears likely that the housing market will slow next year, since the stamp duty holiday encouraged many to bring forward their house purchase in order to avoid additional tax.
“The Omicron variant could reinforce the slowdown if it leads to a weaker labour market. Even if wider economic conditions remain resilient, higher interest rates are likely to exert a cooling influence. Indeed, house price growth has outpaced income growth by a significant margin over the past 18 months and, as a result, housing affordability is already less favourable than before the pandemic struck.”
Gardner also admits that the current environment is difficult to predict. He explains, “The outlook remains extremely uncertain. The strength of the market surprised in 2021 and could do so again in the year ahead. The market still has significant momentum, and shifts in housing preferences as a result of the pandemic could continue to support activity and price growth. Indeed, the Omicron variant could serve to reinforce the shift in preferences in the near term.”
Gardner’s opinion that house prices will slow in 2022 is echoed by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. The trade body suggests that house prices will end 2022 just 3%-5% higher.
According to Tarrant Parsons, senior economist at RICS, while housing activity is likely to slow in 2022, the UK’s shortage of housing stock is unlikely to be resolved any time soon. He explains, “Despite more homeowners seeking more space and various incentive programmes, transaction activity for the coming 12 months will inevitably slow.”
“The major challenge will be around the lack of stock on the market with inventory back close to historic lows, and shows little sign of easing.”
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