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UK house prices post first annual drop since 2012

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British house prices fell in annual terms in September for the first time since 2012 and rents rose sharply last month, official data showed earlier this week, underlining the weak state of the housing market.

House prices decreased by 0.1 per cent in the year to September, the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the first annual fall since April 2012, after a 0.8 per cent increase in August.

Prices in London declined 1.1 per cent.

Britain’s housing market, which boomed during the COVID-19 pandemic, has been hit by higher borrowing costs as the Bank of England battles the highest rate of inflation among large advanced economies.

Mortgage lenders Halifax and Nationwide both reported house prices continued to decline in annual terms in October, although prices rose slightly on a monthly basis.

The ONS’s gauge of private rents rose by 6.1 per cent in the 12 months to October, the biggest annual increase since data collection started in 2016 and up from 5.7 per cent in September.

Separate figures from the Ministry of Justice last week showed the number of no-fault eviction claims in England surged to the highest in more than seven years.

No-fault eviction claims, which allow landlords to end tenancies without giving specific reason and go to court when tenants refuse to leave voluntarily, jumped 38 per cent in the three months to September from the same period last year.

While no-fault evictions were barred during the pandemic, The Renters Reform bill, legislation aimed at imposing a permanent ban, has faced constant delays.

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