The UK property market delivered one of its biggest curveballs for some time in August, with growth of 2.1% — the second highest monthly rate of growth in 15 years according to the Nationwide.
The consensus was for a cool-off in August but then the property market never really did logic. It's about as logical as an Alfred Jarry play.
Annual growth, meanwhile, came in at 11%, which was as outrageous as the casino heist in the movie starring that smooth-looking geezer who likes coffee, forget his name.
So what was the real insight that we can take from this data? Probably that the market is being driven less by one-off fiscal savings, i.e. the stamp duty holiday, and more by lifestyle changes.
Translate: people are moving away from their offices and looking for space and properties that suit a WFH culture.
Supply is the other key driver of house prices, of course. In short, there isn't any.
OK, slight exaggeration that but stock levels are insanely low, which means whatever comes onto the market can command a strong price. Even if it's got no roof.
Rising unemployment a threat
Dirt-cheap mortgages are also driving activity. Hell, it's cheaper to borrow money from banks than it has ever been, even at higher loan-to-values. History will probably deem mortgages rates today to be borderline criminal.
But there are still reasons to be cautious, as Robert Gardner, Nationwide's Chief Economist, points out:
“Underlying demand is likely to soften around the turn of the year if unemployment rises, as most analysts expect, when government support schemes wind down.”
Thanks for that, Robert. Now for the more important views of the Newspage community, below. Businesses who are on the front line, not sat in their Ivory Towers dissecting the property market as if it were a giant lab rat.