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UK House Prices Real Inflation Adjusted Long-term Trend

Housing-Market / UK Housing Jun 11, 2008 - 05:58 AM GMT

By: Nadeem_Walayat


Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleIn recent months inflation has started to breakout to the upside, as CPI began to soar in February, hitting 3% in April and destined to pass 4% this year, busting straight through the Bank of England's 3% upper limit.

Leaving aside the headline house prices, inflation has huge consequences for the real value of house prices which impacts on the wealth effect of the consumer economy which comprises some 65% of the UK economy.

The UK having enjoyed the benefits of the wealth effect right upto the UK housing market peak of August 2007 when average UK house prices peaked at 201,081, following which house prices have declined inline with the Market Oracle forecast to £186,482 as of May 08, as the above graph illustrates the decline to date and the forecast decline of 15% to August 2009, though significant can be interpreted as a mere blip when set against the preceding rise in house prices from a low of £60,096 in1993. However the nominal house price graph masks the actual impact on the consumer economy of trend in real house prices.

The real house price graph more significantly illustrates why the housing bust of the early 1990's contributed to the UK heading for recession and a loss of confidence in the housing market that subsequently persisted for over 5 years. The question as to why people were reluctant to buy houses in the period 1993 to 1997 when nominal house prices had stabilised and started to rise.

The answer is that in real terms house prices were still falling and infact did not bottom until 1996 with the uptrend only being confirmed during the beginning of 1998. Therefore it is only when house prices stopped falling in real terms that the house price uptrend started to gain momentum and trigger the following bull market. It took a further 4-5 years before house prices crossed the previous peak of 1989 some 13 years later.

The subsequent uptrend fed by low inflation and low interest rates proved to be remarkably strong. However the bull market is over and the decline to date of 7% translates to an annualised real terms decline of 14%. As the graph above illustrates over the 2 years of the forecast, real house prices are expected to fall by as much as 25% in real terms and preliminary analysis suggests that UK house prices downtrend into 2011 could see a fall of between 50% and 60% in real terms. The effect of which will be to crush the consumer and therefore the expectation is for a weak UK economy well into 2011.

The situation is even worse for the speculative buy to let brigade who during the housing markets final bull stage increasingly relied upon capital appreciation to provide a return as yields had fallen to below 4%. During a period of inflation the expectation is for interest rates to rise significantly and therefore provide a real rate of return, thus the gap between capital loss plus costs is even wider when considering alternative investments which provide a relatively risk free real return in comparison to buy to let properties. This suggests that a flood of properties from those with large buy to let portfolios will continue to be offloaded onto the weakening housing market and thus accelerate the fall in house prices.

Key Analysis of the UK Housing Market:

03 Jun 2008 - Housing Market Boom and Bust Cycles Driven by Real House Price Values
26 May 2008 - US and UK Housing Bear Market Trends
22 May 2008 - Council of Mortgage Lenders 2008 Housing Market Forecast Demolished
08 May 2008 - UK House Prices Tumbling- Interest Rate Conundrum
21 Apr 2008 - Bank of England Throws £50 billion of Tax Payers Money at the Banks
17 Apr 2008 - Credit Crisis SCOOP- LIBOR Is Now Irrelevant to Derivatives Pricing
08 Apr 2008 - UK House Prices Plunge Over the Cliff
01 Apr 2008 - How to Fix the Credit Markets
11 Mar 2008 - RICS Data Confirms UK Housing Market Heading for 1990's Style Crash
03 Mar 2008 - Credit Crisis Morphs Into Stagflation- Protect Your Wealth!
26 Feb 2008 - UK House Prices Fall for 5 Months in a Row- Housing Market Will Go Negative April 08
07 Feb 2008 - UK Interest Rates Cut to 5.25% - Will Not Help the Housing Market
21 Dec 2007 - UK Commercial Properties Crash Looms as Property Investment Fund Frozen
07 Dec 2007 - Analysis of Interbank and Base Interest Rate Spread
05 Dec 2007 - UK Home Owners Unable to Refinance Mortgages As Fixed Rates Expire During 2008
02 Dec 2007 - UK Housing Slump Gains Momentum as Properties Fail to Sell at Auction
10th Nov 2007 - Crash in UK House Prices Forecast for April 2008 As Buy to Let Investors Sell on Capital Gains Tax Change
28th Oct 07 - UK House Prices - Primary Reasons For a Sharp Fall
25th Sep 07 - UK Housing Market on Brink of Price Crash - Media Lessons from 1989!
22nd Aug 07 - UK Housing Market Crash of 2007 - 2008 and Steps to Protect Your Wealth
1st May 07 - UK Housing Market Heading for a Property Crash


By Nadeem Walayat

Copyright © 2005-08 (Market Oracle Ltd). All rights reserved.

Nadeem Walayat has over 20 years experience of trading, analysing and forecasting the financial markets, including one of few who both anticipated and Beat the 1987 Crash. Nadeem is the Editor of The Market Oracle, a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication. We present in-depth analysis from over 150 experienced analysts on a range of views of the probable direction of the financial markets. Thus enabling our readers to arrive at an informed opinion on future market direction.

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any trading losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors before engaging in any trading activities.

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