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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Agents upbeat after prices show bigger-than-expected rise

Agents have welcomed the surprise news from the Halifax that house prices last month saw their largest rise since the start of 2019 and that prices are now 2.1 per cent higher, on average, than a year ago.

Russell Galley, Halifax managing director, says: “Prices are now up by £3,904 since the start of the year. While a degree of uncertainty remains evident, it’s also clear that buyers and sellers are responding to factors such as improved mortgage affordability and the limited supply of available properties.

“It is these issues which we believe will continue to underpin the resilience evident in the market for most of 2019. Over the medium term we expect the emerging trend of modest gains to continue into next year.”

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, comments: “The resilience of the housing market continues to amaze - a rebounding back up this month, after down last month and confirms what we are seeing on the ground. 

“Despite significant political and economic uncertainty, and a shortage of stock, serious buyers and sellers - particularly we are finding of smaller family houses - are still negotiating hard and taking the medium/longer-term view that some broader stability and confidence will return soon.”

And the director of Benham and Reeves, Marc von Grundherr, adds: “The latest numbers may suggest a Christmas miracle in the making [but] any real stability or growth is unlikely to return this side of the New Year given the upcoming election and the seasonal market slowdown that comes with Christmas. The focus now must be setting a firm political foundation on which we can build and doing so will ensure a swift return to normality over the year ahead.”

Lucy Pendleton, founder director of the James Pendleton agency, states: “House prices have been trending lower throughout the year but this autumn bounce in growth means the decade may not be going out with a whimper after all. It shows that time could well be running out for first-time buyers who may have to move more swiftly before this window of opportunity closes after a long period of contracting prices, particularly in the south.”

And Stone Real Estate founder and chief executive Michael Stone says: “Over the last year, we’ve seen market momentum just about maintained as a result of strong delivery on the part of our housebuilders coupled with first-time buyer appetite.”

But he cautions that this will not be enough to spur a return to health and an end to political and economic uncertainty is badly needed.

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