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House price rises at their slowest for six years ahead of Christmas lull

House price rises are now the slowest they have been for six years according to the Halifax.

Across the UK, property values increased by 0.3 per cent annually in November, the lowest growth since December 2012.

It takes the average house price to £224,578 after a one-month drop of 1.4 per cent in November.

“High employment, wage growth and historically low mortgage rates continue to make home ownership more affordable for many, though the need to raise a significant deposit still acts as something of a restraint on the market” explains Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax.

“This is largely offset by relatively limited supply of new and existing properties for sale, which continues to sustain house prices nationally” he adds.

Howard Archer, chief economic adviser at the influential EY ITEM Club of economists, says: “We suspect that the housing market will be relatively lacklustre over the coming months – although there are varying performances across regions with the overall national picture dragged down by the poor performance in London and parts of the South East.

“Consequently, we expect overall house price gains across the UK over 2019 will be limited to around two per cent.”

Lucy Pendleton, founder director of London agency James Pendleton, says this is not necessarily a Brexit-led market stall. “It is about the natural cycle of any market that has seen strong advances. It comes down to affordability, not politics.”

And Jeremy Leaf, another London agent and a former residential chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, says: “Looking forward, we don’t expect activity to change much, bearing in mind seasonal and political distractions. On the ground, lethargy is replacing energy.”

Transactions have been slowing for some weeks according to the latest data from the monthly Agency Express Property Activity Index.

National month on month figures for properties ‘Sold’ fell 11.4 per cent as did figures for new listings ‘For Sale’, down 13.6 per cent. 

Across the UK the seasonal trend continued. All regions bar one recorded declines in both properties ‘For Sale’ and ‘Sold’.

This month’s top performer and only region to buck the trend was London. 

Month on month figures for new listings ‘For Sale’ sat at a buoyant 41.7 per cent but figures for properties ‘Sold’ were down a predictable 13.4 per cent. 

Of the remaining regions the smallest declines in this month’s index were recorded by:

New listings ‘For Sale’: South East down 7.1 per cent; North West down 11.8 per cent; East Anglia down 12.2 per cent.

Properties ‘Sold’: North West down 3.1 per cent; East Anglia down 4.6 per cent; North East down 6.6 per cent; South East down 8.5 per cent; South West down 8.6 per cent.

The largest decline reported in November’s index was recorded in Wales, with new listings ‘For Sale’ dropping a hefty 31.4 per cent and properties ‘Sold’ dipping 15 per cent. 

The West Midlands followed suit with new listings down 26.4 per cent and ‘Sold’ figures dropping 19.2 per cent. However, both regions have seen an increase in activity year on year.

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