Property prices: When is a 'bubble' actually a bubble?

publication date: Apr 9, 2014
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

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Property prices: When is a 'bubble' actually a bubble?

What you need to know about 'average' house prices

Looking at the latest property price surveys, it would appear the majority are in agreement that UK average property prices are on the up, albeit in some areas only very slightly. However, a word of caution - there remains huge regional variations and things are not so 'rosy' in some areas.

Rightmove - “New record asking price as the country gets moving.” - “London on fire while Scotland Stagnates.”

NAEA - “Supply of housing at nine and a half year low but FTB’s undeterred.”

Hometrack - “Buyers paying highest percentage of asking price since 2004 as demand outstrips supply - London buyers paying over 99%.”

Nationwide - “House price growth moderates in March.”

Halifax - “House prices fell by -1.1% in March. However, house prices in the latest three months (January 2014-March 2014) were 2.3% higher than in the final quarter of 2013.”

Acadata - “House prices up £2,500 in February – largest monthly rise for 21 months.”

Land Registry - “The February data shows a monthly price change of 0.7 per cent.”

Regional price variations
As property price growth gains momentum, the question is – for London at least – when is a ‘bubble’ actually a ‘bubble’ as opposed to a title used to sell newspapers! “Normal” growth over a 14 year period using Land Registry stats suggests Londoners have an annualised 6-10% increase, while it’s more like 5-7% outside of London. Based on this, it does appear London is overheating, but this could be just pent up demand.

Download the full property price summary here

Demand for property
From an economic and industry perspective, it should be of more interest to everyone to see transactions coming back to the market. Unlike some commentators who are convinced rising prices are down to ‘greedy agents’ pushing up the prices, as I regularly remind them, if agents have that power, why did agents push them down so much in 2007 and not reverse the trend? 

Download the full property price summary here

Supply of property
For over 30 years, successive governments and local authorities have failed to build enough properties to house people in the UK. Their failure is now coming home to roost. Shelter estimates over 400,000 households in London alone are waiting for a council house – yet the plans are to build only 40,000 homes a year. With an ageing population trading down and young families looking to trade up, there is going to be, in many areas, an almighty clash over purchasing small to medium sized properties.

Download the full property price summary here

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