Expat asset growth reaps confidence

House price growth reached its highest level for 18 months at 2.3% for the year to February, the latest index from Nationwide Building Society shows.

Average UK house prices also climbed by 0.3% month on month to reach £216, 092.

Nationwide chief economist Robert Gardner says: “While overall economic growth ground to a halt in the final three months of 2019, labour market conditions remained buoyant and borrowing costs low.

“The decisive election outcome may have provided a boost to buyer sentiment.

“Recent data releases indicate that the housing market has gathered momentum in recent months and the latest house price figures are in line with that trend. “The number of residential property transactions and mortgages approved for house purchase increased around the turn of the year and surveyors have reported an increase in new buyer enquiries.”

Looking ahead, economic developments will remain the key driver of housing market trends and house prices Gardner believes. He adds: “Business surveys suggest that activity recovered in the New Year, but there are still significant uncertainties that threaten to exert a drag on the economy in the coming quarters.”

“The global economic backdrop remains challenging, with the coronavirus outbreak expected to weigh on global activity in the coming quarters. Investment is likely to remain subdued until the UK’s future global trading relationships become clearer, which is unlikely until early next year.

“Overall, we expect the UK economy to continue to expand at a modest pace in 2020, with house prices remaining broadly flat in 2020 as a whole.”

The property market is feeling significantly more upbeat now that Brexit uncertainty has been lifted. We’re by no means out of the woods yet, as trade negotiations with the EU could easily turn sour and hit sentiment.