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Senior agent undeterred by downbeat Halifax house price index

Former RICS residential chief Jeremy Leaf says he is not downcast by the latest Halifax house price index which shows prices in the UK fell by an average one per cent in June, the largest monthly fall since January. 

Halifax says the monthly drop takes the typical price of a home down to £218,390; meanwhile the rolling three-monthly figure shows a smaller dip of only 0.1 per cent. 

Annually, house price inflation has fallen from 3.3 per cent in May to 2.6 per cent in June, the lowest increase for four years.

But Leaf, a north London agent, says there is comfort to be taken from the Halifax data. “They are showing a fairly steady market at a time when we would have expected a bit more uncertainty in the period leading up to the General Election. It is mildly encouraging to note that the modest price increase is based on, not so much a shortage of stock but a reasonable number of approvals for the time of year” he says.

“Another positive sign is the number of first time buyers who are active. On the ground, we are finding that they are taking the place of buy to let investors hit by increases in tax and legislative responsibilities” he adds.

The Halifax says the reason for the slowdown was a growing squeeze on household incomes and consumer spending. 

"Although employment levels continue to rise, household finances face increasing pressure as consumer prices grow faster than wages," says Martin Ellis, Halifax's housing economist.

"This, combined with the new stamp duty on buy-to-let and second homes in 2016, appears to have weakened housing demand in recent months."

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