1. Economics
September 7, 2016

Mildly depressing housing chart of the week: summer doldrums

By Jonn Elledge

A new feature that’ll appear in the regular slot of whenever we can be bothered.

So here’s a chart of how UK house prices have changed over the course of the last few years. It comes courtesy of Neal Hudson, who analyses residential property prices for consultants Savills (and who is well worth following on Twitter).

Each line represents the change in prices from those in the market the previous December. (I almost wrote “increase in prices over”, since they were up in 42 of the last 44 months, and 42 of the last 42 – but just about managed to stop myself.)

You can see there’s a regular pattern here. Prices generally climb steadily for the first half of the year. Then when the summer hits, they slip slightly – fewer buyers in the market, one assumes – and then wobble for the rest of the year before resuming their upward trend after Christmas.

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This year, though, things might – might – be different. Over the last few years, the summer slip in prices has been relatively small: 1 or 2 per cent of the December prices.

In 2016, though, it’s been twice that. Prices have fallen – though whether that’s a sign the long boom is coming to an end, the effect of Brexit-inspired uncertainty, or something else, isn’t clear.

That said: prices are still a good 5 per cent higher than they were, even last December. Those prices are going to have to fall a long, long way before they’re within reach of the average first time buyer.

Jonn Elledge is the editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter, far too much, as @jonnelledge.

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