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More market woe as house prices flatline, according to agency

House prices are flatlining with the rate of annual growth having fallen continually since August according to LSL Property Services, which includes the Your Move and Reeds Rains brands.

Annual price growth now stands at just 0.9 per cent, well below the rate of inflation, and the lowest since April 2012.

It leaves the average price in England and Wales at £305,522, up £2,724 on the same time last year.

Despite weak price growth, transaction levels rose slightly in November says the property group, up 2.5 per cent. With an estimated 82,500 sales, they are at their highest November level in three years.

“Despite the current economic uncertainty it’s encouraging to see that there is still some increase in transaction levels and that, whilst house price growth is relatively flat, it means for first time buyers, for example, the news remains positive” according to Oliver Blake, managing director of Your Move and Reeds Rains.

In the year to September, while the number of loans for first time buyers was up a marginal 0.4 per cent on the same period last year, the number for home movers is down 3.6 per cent.

More strikingly, number of buy to let mortgages is down 13.0 per cent. 

LSL says this could be an indication that a ‘wait and see’ attitude is now being adopted particularly as the end of the year approaches and the nation waits on the outcome of Brexit.

But the group warns that longer-term issues also play a role, however, and affordability remains a key concern. 

The biggest growth in transactions has been in the cheapest region in England, the North East, with transactions in the three months to October up 7.0 per cent on the same period last year. 

By contrast, the South East (the most expensive area outside London) saw transactions fall 4.0 per cent. 

On an annual basis prices fell in 21 of the 33 London boroughs, with the City of London up 7.8 per cent and leading those that bucked the trend. 

Three of the top five priced boroughs recorded double digit falls: in Kensington and Chelsea, the most expensive borough, prices are down 16.5 per cent; in the City of Westminster they are down a large 24.8 per cent; and in Hammersmith and Fulham, down 10.5 per cent.

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