What's going on?
Data out on Thursday showed UK house prices jumped by the biggest monthly increase in almost 15 years in September, as the country’s commuters swap queues for views.
What does this mean?
A world where you don’t have to schlep into the office is a world where you can work from anywhere, and Brits certainly haven’t let that opportunity pass them by – so much so that the average UK house price climbed 1.7% in September versus the month before. That brings the average cost of a house to a record £268,000, or $365,000 (tweet this).
The market still has plenty going for it too, even if the government has done away with the tax breaks it rolled out last year. Rock-bottom interest rates have made sure it’s cheap to take out a mortgage, a shortage of properties is keeping prices high, and homebuyers still have lockdown money tucked away that they’re itching to spend.
Why should I care?
The bigger picture: London’s overrated.
London used to be the place to set up shop in the UK, but it looks like it’s falling out of favor: house prices in the capital were only 1% higher than they were in September 2020, compared to the country’s 7% rise overall. That makes sense: this new era of remote working has driven plenty of former city slickers elsewhere in search of more space for less money.
For markets: There’s no such thing as a sure thing.
Still, there’s one major factor putting the British housing market at risk: high inflation could dent homebuyers’ buying power. That’s certainly something investors think is a clear and present danger, with data out on Wednesday showing that inflation expectations are at their highest since 2008. And if the Bank of England decides to limit price rises by raising interest rates, it would suddenly cost more to get a mortgage, and demand might slip even more.