House price growth at standstill, but Nationwide warns that the average home costs six times the average wages.
According to the Nationwide Building Society, the typical UK home now costs six times the average annual earnings, even though house inflation is slowing for the first time in 15 months.
The last time the prices/earnings ratio was so high was more than eight years ago, in March 2008.
The monthly change in house prices across the UK was 0% last month, compared to the 0.3% rise recorded a month earlier, Nationwide’s House Price Index shows.
Over the last three years, house prices have risen by 20%, while wages have risen by just 6%.
In the year to the end of October, prices went up by 4.6%, down from 5.3% in September.
The average price of a UK house fell from £206,015 to £205,904, on a non-seasonally adjusted basis.
Robert Gardner, Chief Economist at Nationwide, said: “After 15 successive monthly increases, UK house prices were unchanged in October after taking account of seasonal factors. As a result, the annual rate of house price growth slowed to 4.6%, from 5.3% in September, though this is still in line with the growth rates prevailing since early 2015.”
He said there were signs that housing market activity remained “fairly subdued”, with house sales about 10% below levels seen a year earlier.
The Nationwide said the weakness of the market may still reflect the changes to stamp duty in April this year, when landlords were faced with tax rises which prompted investors to bring forward property purchases, which may have otherwise taken place later in the year.
However, rock-bottom mortgage rates have helped to keep borrowers’ payments relatively affordable.
Gardner said: “The steady decline in borrowing costs over the same period has helped to lessen the impact on affordability for home-buyers. Indeed, the typical mortgage payment expressed as a share of average take-home pay is little changed over the period and is still in line with the long-run average.”