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House Prices Remain Unchanged in May 2024: Expert Insights on Future Market Movements

May 2024 House price index & Outlook

In May 2024, the UK housing market experienced a rare event: a month of static house prices. This plateau can be attributed to several economic factors, primarily centered around high mortgage rates and market uncertainty. This article delves into the current state of the UK housing market, the implications of potential interest rate cuts later in the summer, and the broader economic landscape that influences house prices.

Current State of UK House Prices

May 2024: A Month of Stability

  • According to the latest Halifax House Price Index, UK house prices remained essentially unchanged in May 2024.
  • The average house price in April was £288,949, which saw only a minor increase of 0.1% from March, reflecting a stagnant market..
  • On an annual basis, house prices grew by 1.1%, a figure that highlights the slow pace of the housing market over the past year.

Factors Contributing to Static Prices

  • High Mortgage Rates: With the Bank of England maintaining interest rates at a 16-year high of 5.25%, borrowing costs have remained prohibitively expensive for many potential buyers. This has led to a subdued market where affordability is a significant concern.
  • Economic Uncertainty: The broader economic climate, including inflation and cost-of-living pressures, has dampened consumer confidence, further contributing to the market’s sluggishness.

Regional Variations in House Price Growth

The housing market’s performance has not been uniform across the UK. Notable regional differences include:

  • Northern Ireland: This region saw the highest growth, with prices increasing by 3.4% on average.
  • North West England: Another strong performer, with house prices rising by 3.3% annually.
  • Eastern England and London: These areas saw minimal growth, with Eastern England even experiencing a 1.1% drop in prices compared to the previous year.

Outlook for the Housing Market

Potential Interest Rate Cuts

  • There is a broad expectation that the Bank of England will begin to cut interest rates later in the summer, with some predictions suggesting a potential cut as early as August.
  • If interest rates are reduced, mortgage rates are likely to follow suit, making borrowing more affordable and potentially stimulating the housing market. Lower interest rates could reignite demand, especially among those who have been waiting for more favorable borrowing conditions.
Colourful terrace as properties for a buy to let mortgage or as part of a portfolio mortgage

Market Sentiment and Predictions

  • Industry experts, including Amanda Bryden from Halifax, anticipate a modest rise in house prices if interest rates drop. They suggest that the housing market could see renewed activity as borrowing becomes more affordable and consumer confidence improves.
  • However, the immediate future may still see a period of dampened transactions as the market adjusts to recent rate hikes and ongoing economic pressures as well as the impending election.

Implications for Buyers and Sellers

For Buyers

  • Short-Term Considerations: Prospective buyers might find the next few months challenging due to high mortgage rates and economic uncertainty. However, those looking to buy should stay informed about potential interest rate cuts, which could offer more favorable conditions later in the year.
  • Long-Term Outlook: If interest rates do drop, it could be an opportune time for buyers to enter the market, especially as demand could drive prices up once more. First-time buyers, in particular, may find it easier to secure mortgages with lower interest rates.

For Sellers

  • Current Market Conditions: Sellers may face a slower market in the short term, with fewer transactions and potential buyers exercising caution. Pricing properties competitively and being prepared for longer sale times could be necessary strategies.
  • Future Opportunities: If and when the anticipated interest rate cuts materialise, sellers might see increased demand and quicker sales processes. The spring bounce, although delayed, could see a resurgence, particularly in high-demand areas like London.

Broader Economic Context

Inflation and Cost of Living

  • The UK continues to grapple with high inflation and rising living costs, which have a direct impact on the housing market. Higher everyday expenses reduce disposable income, affecting potential buyers’ ability to save for deposits and manage mortgage repayments.
  • The Bank of England’s monetary policy decisions, including interest rate adjustments, are closely tied to inflation trends. A reduction in rates could be part of a broader strategy to stimulate economic growth and ease financial pressures on households.

Employment and Wage Growth

  • Employment rates and wage growth are critical factors that influence housing affordability. Stable employment and rising wages can boost consumer confidence and spending power, positively impacting the housing market.
  • Conversely, economic instability or rising unemployment could further dampen the housing market, regardless of interest rate cuts.


The UK housing market in May 2024 has experienced a rare period of stability, with house prices remaining static amid high mortgage rates and economic uncertainty. However, the outlook for the coming months suggests potential changes, particularly if the Bank of England moves to cut interest rates later in the summer.

For buyers and sellers, staying informed and adaptable to market conditions will be crucial. While the immediate future may present challenges, the anticipated interest rate cuts could herald a more dynamic and active housing market, offering opportunities for those prepared to navigate the evolving landscape.

By understanding these trends and their implications, stakeholders in the housing market can make informed decisions and potentially benefit from the changing economic conditions.

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