V-shaped bounce in UK housing

UK house prices rose 5% in the year to September, the biggest gain in four years.

Those searching for a V-shaped recovery need look no further than the UK housing market, says Thomas Pugh of Capital Economics. Nationwide’s House Price Index shows that house prices rose 5% in the year to September, the biggest gain in four years. The Bank of England reports that mortgage approvals in August hit 85,000, the highest level since 2007. 

Covid-19 has made many rethink their living arrangements, says Jessica Beard in The Daily Telegraph. A Nationwide survey reports that “one in ten movers” are motivated by the pandemic. “A further 18% are considering moving for the same reason”. 

That has driven a big boom in the London commuter belt, says Hanna Ziady for CNN Business. Data from Rightmove shows that the number of transactions in 16 English villages, mostly located an hour or two away from London, has already surpassed the total for the whole of last year. The boom has been especially concentrated at the top end of the market, with the number of sales of properties worth more than £1m doubling year-on-year in the first half of August. 

Analysts expect the housing market to hit turbulence next year as unemployment rises and the chancellor’s stamp-duty holiday ends. Online visits to the main property websites started to trend down in September, says Samuel Tombs of Pantheon Macroeconomics. That’s an early sign that the boom is “coming off the boil”.

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