Housing market latest – wage growth enhances buyer affordability
Wage growth in the UK is outstripping house price growth at its fastest rate since 2011, enhancing buyer affordability. This is contributing to both mortgage approvals and housing transactions holding up well, despite the ongoing political uncertainty related to Brexit. Indeed, the February 2019 Zoopla/Hometrack UK Cities House Price Index states that, “Data on transactions remains resilient with no obvious Brexit impact at a national level.”
According to the report, there was no material drop in mortgage approval activity or transaction volumes during the latter half of 2018, when compared with the five-year average. Furthermore, HMRC figures show that transaction volumes actually increased slightly during the first two months of 2019.
Annual wage growth stands at 3.4% according to Rightmove’s latest House Price Index. That compares to an average annual rate of house price growth of 2.0%.
Annual wage growth stands at 3.4% according to Rightmove’s latest House Price Index. That compares to an average annual rate of house price growth of 2.0%. Not only that, but the National Living Wage in the UK has just risen by 4.9%. As of 1 April 2019, the national minimum wage rose from £7.83 per hour to £8.21 for those aged 25+. Workers aged 21-24 also saw an increase, from £7.38 per hour to £7.70, while those aged 18-20 saw a rise from £5.90 to £6.15.
The impact of this can best be seen at a local level. In three out of four southern regions, for example, Rightmove reports that new sellers’ asking prices are cheaper than they were a year ago, giving buyers a distinct advantage when considered in light of their increased purchasing power.
Further north, many regional cities have been outstripping the price growth of their southern counterparts over the past three years, thanks to rising employment levels, as well as enhanced affordability. Two cities – Leicester and Manchester – have even achieved price growth of 17% since the Brexit vote, creating fantastic capital growth for those who timed their purchases right around the time of the referendum.
Manchester remains high on many investors’ priority list – and for good reason. The city is home to an impressive array of redevelopment projects, the largest of which is the NOMA development. The 20-acre, mixed use site is being regenerated at a cost of £800 million, making it the largest development project in North West England, eclipsing even MediaCityUK (also in Manchester). Such vast developments bring a wealth of opportunities, both for those who live in the city and for those looking to invest there.