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House prices fall for second consecutive month – Halifax

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  • 05/10/2018
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House prices fall for second consecutive month – Halifax
House prices fell for the second consecutive month in September and by a much steeper margin than August, according to the Halifax House Price Index.

 

The monthly fall of 1.4% to £225,995 from £229,284 continues the trend across the country, showing a weak housing market over the end of the summer with the August total falling by 0.2%.

On an annual basis house prices in the three months to September were 2.5% higher than in the same three months a year earlier – down from 3.7% in August.

Prices in the third quarter of the year rose 1.8% compared to the second three months, the same figure seen in August.

Overall the figures appear to show a sluggish and slowing with the lack of availability of homes dictating much of the market dynamics.

Official statistics have suggested the downward trend may be driven by a soft London and South East market, however Halifax did not have a further breakdown of its figures.

 

Steadying house price inflation

Halifax managing director Russell Galley said: “With the annual rate of house price growth easing to 2.5% in September from 3.7% in August and the quarterly rate of growth remaining at 1.8% for the second month, we are seeing a steadying in house price inflation across these more stable measures.

“This is set among mortgage approvals and completed house sales remaining broadly unchanged, although a gradual pickup in wage growth has helped to support household finances.

“The annual rate of growth is near the top of our forecast range of 0-3% for 2018, as a low supply of new homes and existing properties for sale, combined with historically low mortgage rates and a high employment rate, continue to support house prices,” he added.

Legal & General Mortgage Club director Kevin Roberts echoed Galley’s thoughts, and noted that limited housing supply was still strangling the ambitions of borrowers up and down the country.

“Whether it’s first-time buyers, second steppers or people looking to downsize, a lack of suitable housing is still preventing many from making their first or next purchase,” he said.

“There is good news – steadier house price growth, schemes like Help to Buy and a wider choice of mortgages are making it easier for some first-time buyers to take a step onto the ladder.

“However, more support from the government is needed.”

 

Political concerns

Others highlighted the political instability and the prospect of a no-deal Brexit, as causing many people to hesitate about making major decisions.

Emoov CEO and co-founder Russell Quirk said: “While price growth may remain erratic month to month until greater political stability prevails, this lack of stock, coupled with the fact that the construction of new build developments is falling, will see prices continue to creep up in the mid-term.”

North London estate agent Jeremy Leaf added: “After last month’s rather mixed bag, there is still no clear direction with house price growth continuing to slow. Sluggish transactional activity is bad for the property market but much worse for the economy.

“On the ground, sellers have not shrugged off Brexit concerns to put their properties on the market to sell in sufficient numbers to make a difference.

“However, buyer interest has improved in what remains more of a needs-driven market since people return from a protracted summer break.”

 

 

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