One estate agent has described the latest price fall announced by the Halifax as “quite a retreat” for the housing market as it should be buoyant in a pre-Christmas period.
Average UK house prices fell by 1.4 per cent in September according to Halifax, taking the average price of a home to £225,995.
This second monthly dip in a row has pulled back annual house price growth from 3.7 per cent in August to 2.5 per cent now with the quarterly rate of change remaining steady at 1.8 per cent.
“We are seeing a steadying in house price inflation across these more stable measures. This is set amongst mortgage approvals and completed house sales remaining broadly unchanged, although a gradual pickup in wage growth has helped to support household finances” suggests Russell Galley, managing director of the Halifax.
“The annual rate of growth is near the top of our forecast range of zero to three per cent 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” adds Galley.
Jonathan Harris, director of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, says: “Deals are falling out of bed as buyers become increasingly jittery over Brexit and the very real prospect of a Corbyn government, with some of those who don't have to move now deciding to take a wait and see approach instead.”
Lucy Pendleton, founder of James Pendleton estate agency, describes the latest figures as “quite a retreat at a time when increased competition among those racing to move by Christmas would normally give the market a bit of buoyancy.”
Jeremy Leaf, the north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, says there’s still not clear direction for the market.
“Sluggish transactional activity is bad for the property market but much worse for the economy … 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” he adds.