One of the UK’s largest homebuilders has said house prices are growing more slowly, amid increasing signs that a boom which has made property unaffordable for many is ebbing.
Taylor Wimpey said it was seeing “more balanced market conditions, with a lower rate of price growth, which should create a healthy and more sustainable market”.
House prices surged in 2014, but are expected to slow this year amid expectations of higher interest rates, the general election, and fewer foreign buyers.
Nationwide building society expects the property market to cool in 2015, after recording an 8.3% rise in average UK house prices in 2014. While a leading forecaster, the Centre for Economics and Business Research, recently said it expected house prices to fall in 2015, with the biggest drop in London.
Taylor Wimpey, which builds one- to five-bedroom homes, said prices were rising more slowly at the end of 2014, although its average selling price rose by 11% to £234,000.
The firm said it started 2015 with a record order book worth £1.4bn, up 12% on the previous year. In 2014 it completed 12,454 homes, up 6% on the previous year. “During the second half of 2014 we saw a return to a healthier and more balanced housing market after a very strong first half of the year. The UK housing market continues to grow,” it said in an upbeat trading statement that boasted of its “excellent position” in the market.
Britain’s biggest builders have made bumper profits through the UK’s house price boom, which is supported by the government’s help-to-buy mortgage-subsidy scheme.