The UK property market may be going through a period of "sluggish" growth at the moment, but the average cost of a first home recently hit a record high and house prices continue to rise, new reports suggest.
House prices will climb by around 2% this year, according to a forecast by Nationwide building society. While the rise is at a slower pace than in previous years, it's still clearly a trend in the wrong direction for most of us, for whom getting onto the property ladder can seem like a distant pipe dream. Property values rose by 0.3% month on month and in July they were up by 2.9% on the previous year. By contrast, annual house price growth sat at around 5.2% in July 2016. Nationwide attributed the slowdown to the country's weakened economic performance in the first half of this year.
While people's household budgets will continue to be squeezed for the foreseeable future, as wages fail to keep up with the rising cost of living, Nationwide also said the property market could become more favourable to buyers in the coming months.
Prices will continue to rise, though, due to a lack of available homes on the market. Robert Gardner, Nationwide's Chief Economist, said: "Constrained supply is likely to continue to provide support for house prices and, as a result, we continue to expect prices to rise by 0.2% over 2017 as a whole - only modestly lower than the levels recorded in recent months.”
The number of first-time buyers taking out mortgages has grown over the last 18 months, thanks to lower mortgage rates and a fall in buy-to-let purchases after a long overdue 3% stamp duty charge was introduced for people buying second or additional properties last year, reported ThisIsMoney.
With fewer landlords making transactions, some have suggested there could be a greater opportunity for first-timers to get a leg up on the ladder. Here's hoping.