St Albans housing market remains flat, latest data confirms

House prices fell by 0.2 per cent in St Albans during August

House prices fell by 0.2 per cent in St Albans during August - Credit: Archant

House prices fell by 0.2 per cent in St Albans during August, contributing to a 0.7 fall year-on-year.

It’s a similar story across the county, with a rise of just 0.1 per cent throughout Herts in August, and 0.2 per cent annually – compared to 3.2 per cent UK-wide.

The total number of homes sold in St Albans is also down year-on-year: between July 2017 and June this year, the most recent 12 months for which sales volume data is available, 1,998 homes were sold in St Albans, 11 per cent fewer than in the previous year.

Welwyn Hatfield bucked the trend, with a 1.9 per cent increase during August, which contributed to an impressive 4 per cent rise over the last 12 months. The total number of homes sold was down 7 per cent to 1,411, however.

Lawrence Bowles, associate director of the research team at estate agents Savills, said the uncertainty over the outcome of Brexit negotiations was fuelling a “tougher lending environment”.

He said: “House price growth in real terms is slowing, and inflation is growing at the rate we’ve been used to over the last few months. Buyers, sellers and lenders are all thinking maybe they should wait until they see the outcome of negotiations.”

He added: “Longer term, the issue we expect to see is affordability, as we expect the Bank of England base rate to be back above 2 per cent by 2021 – closer to historical levels, rather than the ultra-low rates we have seen in recent years.

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“That, combined with stricter affordability stress tests, will make it more difficult for households to demonstrate that they are able to afford mortgages.

“But we would expect to see a bounce at some point, between finding out the Brexit outcome and the start of higher interest rates.”