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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Market in limbo as wait for economic stability goes on (and on)

Average UK house prices rose 0.5 per cent in May according to the latest Halifax house price index as the long wait for Brexit and political stability continues.

The average house price in the UK is now £237,837 - that’s 5.2 per cent up year on year although the Halifax points out that the annual figure is comparing today with a particularly low growth rate in the corresponding period in 2018.

Agents are understandably frustrated at the continuing uncertainty over the future direction of the government and the economy.

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, puts it this way: “Not just the country but the property market is in limbo. Uncertainty is outweighing job and wages growth as well as almost record low mortgage rates. No major correction has been seen or is expected and the market remains relatively resilient but continuing lack of urgency means business is tough for all, other than those buyers and sellers prepared to take a more realistic approach to present realities.”

Mike Scott, market analyst at online agency Yopa, suggests the figures may be a little less optimistic than they first seem.

“While the index is mix-adjusted to prevent regional imbalances from affecting the national figure, the Halifax’s mortgage book has always been concentrated in the northern part of the country, and their index may reflect the faster-growing prices in the north compared with stationary or falling prices in the south and London” he says.

Jonathan Hopper, managing director of Garrington Property Finders, comments: "Whether the imminent arrival of removal lorries at 10 Downing Street brings more or less stability to Britain’s fractured politics is moot. For both buyers and sellers, uncertainty has become the new normal and for now the property market is, against all odds, working largely as it should."

Meanwhile the author of the index - Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax - says: "Despite the ongoing political and economic uncertainty, underlying conditions in the broader economy continue to underpin the housing market, particularly the twin factors of high employment and low interest rates.”

He adds that the current trend of stability based on high employment and low interest rates should persist over the coming months.

Poll: How does the market compare to this time last year?

PLACE YOUR VOTE BELOW

  • Sam Samuel

    Our market is showing a consistent minimum 3% drop in sales, so that is South East and Northern Kent. Some other agents still valuing at 2018 prices. Five new instructions, two of which were valued by competitors at higher levels shows the market is wising up, but definitely a buyers market and definitely a slight correction in house prices.

  • Paul Barrett

    It is more the PRS restrictions on consumer mortgage credit.
    Allow IO 95% LTV residential mortgages with a term up til age 90 and watch the market take off like a rocket!!
    Of course this will never happen and so until wages can catch up with CURRENT property prices the market will remain moribund for years.
    But of course in the meantime prices will increase to make it still unattainable for buyers.
    Couple that with ever increasing rents due to stupid policies like S24 and the SDLT surcharge and it will remain still too difficult for aspirant homebuyers as they have to pay higher rents.
    The only way most aspirant Homebuyers will achieve their objectives is to return home and then save hard for 5 years not having much of any sort of social life or expensive gadgets etc.
    So for many that is completely impractical.
    That pre-supposes that parents would even want their offspring to return home to live and even if they did surely such parents would wish for some amount of rent!!?

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