Halifax or Nationwide: Who to Believe About House Prices?


House prices beat expectations to grow at their fastest pace in more than two years according to Halifax, but economists raised questions about the reliability of the mortgage lender’s data.

A series of indicators have pointed to a slowing housing market, but Halifax said that prices grew by 5.2% on an annual basis in the three months to May. That is up from 5% annual growth in the three months to April. This was the highest rate of growth since January 2017.

Halifax said that prices rose by 0.5% in the month of May. Russell Galley, Managing Director, said that the overall message was one of stability: “Despite the ongoing political and economic uncertainty, underlying conditions in the broader economy continue to underpin the housing market, particularly the twin factors of high employment and low-interest rates,” he said.

The Halifax figures also contrast sharply with the Nationwide Building Society index, which estimated that prices rose by only 0.2% in the month to May, lower than the 0.5% stated by Halifax. Official figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that house prices fell by 0.2% month to month in March, a seventh successive drop.

On an annual basis, Nationwide said that house price growth had slowed to 0.6% in May and the ONS figures for the year to March came in at 1.4%.

A slow, steady, or falling market in the depth of uncertainty over Brexit? In the meantime, rents keep rolling in…


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