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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Market latest: Agents hope for New Year boost as prices stagnate

House prices dipped a tiny 0.1 per cent in October - but this led to the annual rate coming in at just 0.9 per cent up, which is less than most measures of inflation.

The new figures come from the Halifax, whose managing director Russell Galley says: “Average house prices continued to slow in October, with a modest rise of 0.9 per cent over the past year. While this is the lowest growth seen in 2019, it again extends the largely flat trend which has taken hold over recent months.”

He continues: “A number of underlying factors such as mortgage affordability and wage growth continue to support prices, however there is evidence of consumers erring on the side of caution. We remain unchanged from our view that activity levels and price growth will remain subdued while the UK navigates political and economic uncertainty.”

According to Jeremy Leaf, the north London agent and former RICS residential chairman: “The market remains fairly subdued, which may be a good thing in view of wider political and other concerns. We’re finding it continues to be supported by fewer but more serious buyers. This is particularly the case with first-timers taking advantage of mortgage affordability and wage growth.

“However, we’ve noticed some are hedging their bets by trying to agree terms in expectation of the release of pent-up demand and more activity post-election.”

And Milton Rodosthenous, director of online auction service LetsBid Property - which has partnered with over 100 estate agents - adds:  “The market has remained stable and resilient in the face of an unprecedented political situation and a period of uncertainty that has stretched to over three years now.

He continues: “However, the outcome of the Election in December combined with the traditional market boost in January, should provide renewed optimism for the New Year. The market's biggest problem in recent times has been a lack of confidence, but certainty surrounding the outcome of Brexit and the government alongside the positivity a fresh year brings, will encourage buyers and sellers to return to the market in volume.”

Marc von Grundherr, director of London agency Benham and Reeves, says: “While home sellers hold tight and choose to revel in seasonal festivities rather than enter the property mix, the UK housing market will remain dormant but defiant, until we chisel away the ice of political uncertainty. At which point the slow but consistent levels of growth seen this year will start to accelerate once again.”

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