Property industry reacts to Nationwide House Price Index

Posted on Friday, May 31, 2024

UK house prices rebounded in May, nudging up by 0.4% on the month compared to a drop of -0.4% in April despite ongoing affordability pressures for buyers.

Annual house price growth was more upbeat at 1.3%, compared to 0.6% in April, the latest figures from Nationwide this morning reveal.

What happened to UK house prices in May? – Property Industry Eye

Industry reactions:

Guy Gittins, chief executive of Foxtons, said: “Mortgage approvals have been climbing consistently throughout the year and despite last week’s news of a general election we saw weekly new applicant enquiry numbers hit a five year high, demonstrating just how much buyer confidence has grown in 2024.

“Not only has there been an uplift in buyer activity, but we’re also seeing more sellers return to the fold in order to take advantage of this growing market momentum with the number of offers being accepted at its highest since 2016.

“This positive start to the year has come despite interest rates remaining at 5.25% and as market sentiment has improved, this has naturally led to a greater degree of positive property price growth.

“Going forward, we don’t anticipate that the impending general election will dampen this growing market sentiment and we expect further growth will materialise over the summer months as the market continues to heat up, particularly with the possibility of an interest rate cut firmly on the horizon.”


Ed Phillips, CEO of Lomond, commented: “Having stood firm in the face of higher interest rates, the UK property market is now building a good head of steam and a spring surge in market activity has helped to drive positive house price growth in recent months.

“This puts the market in very good stead for the remainder of the year and we expect market activity will only build as more buyers and sellers look to make their move in anticipation of a rate reduction in the coming months.”


Nathan Emerson, CEO of Propertymark, said: “The housing sector has seen a strong start to the year and it’s positive to see further momentum. We are conscious there may be a potential slow down across the summer as a knock-on effect following the general election, but with inflation firmly on its journey downward and with scope for interest rate cuts, we may soon see a much welcome influx of highly competitive deals from lenders hit the marketplace.”


Tom Bill, head of UK residential research at Knight Frank commented, “House prices do not feel poised to rally, despite a seasonal increase in demand. High supply is keeping a lid on prices and stubborn services inflation means swap rates are rising and mortgages starting with a ‘3’ feel some way off. Asking prices still need to reflect the fact that buyers currently have tighter budgets and more choice. The general election is unlikely to impact mainstream property markets and if buyers want to know what prices will do next, the next inflation reading rather than the political manifestoes is the best place to start.”


Verona Frankish, CEO of Yopa, said: “Despite a prolonged period of higher interest rates we’re yet to have seen any notable decline in property values and it seems as though the tide has now well and truly turned, as the market starts to build momentum following a resurgence in market activity so far this year.

“The possibility of a base rate reduction in the coming months will only help to boost current sentiment and we expect the market to march on undeterred by the political noise being generated from the impending election.”


Nicky Stevenson, managing director at Fine & Country, said: “House prices had been yo-yoing from economic gales, but May’s figures indicate calmer waters ahead for the housing market.

“Previously hesitant home buyers are feeling more confident to pull the trigger on moving plans as financial strains ease.

“With inflation moving closer to the government’s 2% target and potential interest rate cuts this summer, demand may surge further into 2024. This will help to stabilise or even nudge prices upwards amid buyer competition – a positive development for sellers.

“Lenders are also lowering rates in response to more favourable conditions, making homeownership more attainable, especially for first-time buyers previously deterred by high monthly payments or excessively long mortgage terms.

“If current trends persist, the UK housing market could experience a steady rebound, with prices rising moderately in popular areas and hot markets.

“However, affordability concerns may linger, particularly for those on lower incomes or in regions with high living costs.”


Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, commented: “In the face of affordability pressures facing millions of households, the property industry is proving how dynamic and resilient it can be.

“House prices across the country are in a state of flux and that is evident if you weigh up the different sources of data being published.

“This is undoubtedly still a good time to market your property, but it is always worth speaking to an estate agent with a good understanding of prices in your area. While house price figures are useful for giving a top-level overview, they do not give you the granular detail that you might need to get the most out of your sale.

“Inflation came in higher than expected this month, which makes it increasingly unlikely that the Bank of England will lower interest rates in June.

“For the time being, people on tracker mortgages will face higher repayments and crucially for buyers it also means that some of the most attractive mortgage offers will be slower to return to the market.

“With a general election just around the corner, we would welcome a renewed effort to build more housing and refurbish dormant properties. Ensuring new homes were affordable to first-time buyers would also soften the blow if house prices were to continue to increase.”


Michelle Stevens at, remarked: “A lot of uncertainty still surrounds the UK housing market, but today’s figures show that buyer demand is strengthening. The Bank of England is widely predicted to cut rates in the coming months, and as a result buyers who have so far held off are beginning to return to the market. However, despite inflation falling to the lowest rate since September 2021 last month, it’s important to remember that many households are still struggling to make ends meet, and therefore affordability issues remain. Because of this, it’s unlikely that we’ll see UK house prices sprint away in 2024, but there are encouraging signs of recovery.”


Alice Haine, personal finance analyst at Bestinvest by Evelyn Partners, the wealth manager, noted: “Home movers are unlikely to delay a buying decision until after the election is concluded, particularly if a deal is close to conclusion.

“However, with so many major challenges for the property market over the past few years, from a global pandemic to surging demand amid the race for space and the stamp duty holiday and soaring borrowing costs, those sitting on the fence may be willing to hold off until a rate cut has happened and the dust settles after the election before they plough into the market.

“A separate report found the number of homes on the market is at the highest level in eight years as sellers return to the market in droves, buoyed by the slight improvement in their affordability levels already. If this trend continues, this could keep prices in check over the coming months.”


Marc von Grundherr, director of Benham and Reeves, added: “Not only are house prices up year on year, but this rate of growth has started to accelerate as the UK property market picks up the pace during its busiest time of year.

“While the nation may now be gripped by political uncertainty following the news of a general election, this will have little impact on the nation’s buyers and sellers, who will continue to pursue their plans to move regardless of who is in 10 Downing Street come July.”

Via @PropertyIndustryEye