UK house prices fall 2.4% in July

Fourth monthly decline in a row but conditions are starting to favour first-time buyers amid bleak outlook, experts say

Homes in east London. House prices across the UK fell by 2.4 per cent in July year-on-year. EPA
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House prices in Britain fell 2.4 per cent last month, compared with the same month last year, according to Halifax.

The average UK house price fell by 0.3 per cent in July, meaning prices have declined for four months in a row.

The average house in the UK is now £285,044 ($362,940).

“In reality, prices are little changed over the last six months, with the typical property now costing £285,044, compared to £285,660 in February," said Kim Kinnaird, director of Halifax Mortgages.

"The pace of annual decline also slowed to minus 2.4 per cent in July, versus minus 2.6 per cent in June.

"These figures add to the sense of a housing market which continues to display a degree of resilience in the face of tough economic headwinds."

The Halifax's calculations mirror those of the Nationwide Building Society, whose own survey last week showed prices in July 3.8 per cent lower than a year previously – the largest fall in 14 years.

According to Halifax, prices have fallen 3 per cent since they peaked in August last year. Nationwide puts the decline over the same period at 4.5 per cent.

The effect of the Bank of England's fourteen increases in interest rates is now reducing demand in the economy but house prices are still proving resilient given the strength in wage growth and relatively low unemployment.

“Prospects for the UK housing market remain closely linked to the performance of the wider economy," Ms Kinnaird said.

"Several factors are providing support, notably strong wage growth, running at around +7 per cent annually. And, while the uptick in unemployment is likely to restrain that somewhat, it seems unlikely to reach levels that would trigger a sharp deterioration in conditions.

“Expectations of further base rate increases from the Bank of England were tempered by a better-than-expected inflation report for June.

"However, while there have been recent signs of borrowing costs stabilising or even falling, they will likely remain much higher than homeowners have become used to over the last decade."

First-time buyers

Some experts argue despite the support factors, the outlook for the UK housing market remains bleak.

“It's worrying to see yet another decline in house prices this month, as the UK sits on the cusp of a housing market crash, the risks of which will have only been heightened by the most recent base rate hike which could push house prices down even further," said Kate Anderson, deputy editor and housing expert at

"It’s likely that we’re going to face big issues with the buy to let market and the impact that the rising cost of borrowing will have on renters.

"Landlords may find it unprofitable to continue due to increasing interest rates and sell up, creating further downward pressure on house prices and leaving renters with even fewer options."

Nonetheless, others say the woes in the buy-to-let market are creating better conditions for first-time buyers.

Ms Kinnaird from Halifax said activity among first-time buyers was holding up "relatively well", while some were "now searching for smaller homes, to offset higher borrowing costs".

"We've seen more first-time buyers in the past two weeks than in the previous two months," said Lewis Shaw, founder of Shaw Financial Services.

"This segment of the market is proving especially resilient.

"With the sell-off in the buy-to-let market in full swing, combined with an increase in more property for sale generally, aspiring homeowners can smell blood.

"First-time buyers are in an incredibly strong position and it's not uncommon to see them agreeing on purchases at 10 per cent to 15 per cent below the marketed price."

Updated: August 07, 2023, 11:07 AM