Despite record high prices, property remains a British obsession. We’d be wiser shopping on the continent, says Matthew Partridge. here, he picks some of the best places to buy.
UK house price indicators
We watch five indicators, all of which have proved useful guides in the past. These include the RICS Housing Market Survey and data on both mortgage lending and mortgage approvals. Consumer confidence is another useful data point we keep an eye on.
You can read in detail what each indicator suggests for UK house prices using the tabs above.
What's the latest?March's RICS balance rose to 21, ie, 21% more surveyors saw prices rising than falling. The April Halifax UK three-monthly house price index saw a 8.5% year-on-year rise.
What does this mean for UK house prices? The RICS survey leads the Halifax index by around six months. With a balance of 21%, will Britain's housing market keep climbing?
What's the latest?March saw UK NMLG rise to 5.0%. That compares with annual growth of 1.9% two years ago, 5.7% in December 2008 and 11.1% in February 2007. Meanwhile, the April Nationwide UK house price index is 5.2% higher year-on-year.
What does this mean for house prices? This long-term collapse in NMLG suggests UK house prices are standing at the cliff face. If they follow net lending trends, residential property values could slump by over 15%.
This gauges the monthly mood swings of Britain's consumers. It "tracks changes in personal finance, the general economic situation, inflation, unemployment, the current purchasing climate, and consumer spending and saving", say its compilers GfK/NOP.
What's the latest? For March, the GfK rose to 4. May's Halifax UK three-monthly house price index saw a 8.5% year-on-year rise.
What does this mean for UK house prices? This indicator leads the Halifax UK three-monthly house price index by some four months. The recent rise in the GfK indicates rising consumer confidence.
The UK CPI (consumer price index) is the most widely-used indicator of our cost of living.
What's the latest? March's UK CPI was flat at 0.0% year-on-year, the same as the previous month. Meanwhile, RPI was 0.9% higher – down from 1.0% in February. The April Nationwide UK house price index is 5.2% higher year-on-year.
What does this mean for UK house prices? Higher CPI normally means higher interest rates. Despite the fall in UK CPI since 2010, inflation is still too high. It may drop more, but the historic relationship of higher CPI = less UK house price inflation will return at some point.
Property: the MoneyWeek view
May 2015: Look abroad for bargains Housing has featured prominently in the election campaign. Labour's proposed stamp duty exemption for first-time buyers, like the Help to Buy scheme, would boost demand and prices in an already overpriced market. Look overseas for better bargains in residential property.
• See our view on all the major asset classes here.
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