House price growth hits 18-year high as analysts warn market has peaked

Experts warned the longer house price growth continues at this pace, the more unstable the market will become. Andrew Wishart, of Capital Economics consultants, said: “With house prices continuing to rise apace, the risk of a more dramatic correction is growing.”

But the affordability crunch is hitting buyers on the bottom rungs of the housing ladder hard. Analysts warned the boom would cool fast as the cost of living crisis sets in.

Robert Gardner, of Nationwide, said: “We still think that the housing market is likely to slow in the quarters ahead. The squeeze on household incomes is set to intensify, with inflation expected to rise further, perhaps reaching double digits in the quarters ahead if global energy prices remain high.” 

Strong labour market conditions will also encourage the Bank of England to raise interest rates further, he added. The pace of growth can be hard to reconcile against forecasts of the steepest fall in real disposable incomes on record this year. 

“The housing market has maintained a surprising amount of momentum given the mounting pressure on household budgets and the steady rise in borrowing costs,” said Mr Gardner.

Low unemployment and savings accrued by affluent households during lockdown have bolstered the market, said Mr Gardner. 

Households accrued an additional estimated £190bn in deposits since early 2020 due to the impact of Covid on spending patterns, he said. This equates to roughly £6,500 per household. “But it is important to note that these savings were not evenly spread, with older, wealthier households accruing more of the increase.”

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