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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Agents praise “remarkable” market for staying strong despite Brexit

Another house price index has suggested the housing market continuing to show great resilience despite the continuing economic and political uncertainty.

The latest Halifax index shows the typical price of a UK home now being £233,541 - that’s a modest 1.8 per cent more than a year ago. In the last quarter prices have risen just 0.1 per cent.

“Once again we’re seeing the market demonstrating underlying strength, supported particularly by lack of stock, without necessarily any fireworks which is remarkable considering the current political turmoil. What we’re seeing on the ground is a little more enthusiasm from buyers and sellers returning from holiday” explains Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman. 

“Realistic buyers and sellers are also taking advantage of improved affordability and low mortgage rates but we are finding that it is only those prepared to negotiate hard who are successful” he continues.

The comments are echoed by Marc von Grundherr, director of London agency Benham and Reeves, says: “If we consider how poorly Brexit has been handled it’s a miracle that we’ve seen any positive growth. The reality is that wage growth remains steady, the affordability of mortgage products is still very good indeed, and these factors along with a shortage of stock will continue to support the market.”

And Milton Rodosthenous, director of online auction service LetsBid Property, adds: “We now expect market activity to ramp up as eager movers look to get deals done before Christmas and New Year. It will be interesting to see if the unprecedented political circumstances we find ourselves in have a significant effect on this traditionally busy home moving period.”

The latest price index figures are roughly in line with other recent indices; this follows revisions in the way Halifax calculates its index, which has in recent months been criticised for being at variance with other measures of the housing market.

Halifax managing director Russell Galley says: “There was no real shift in house prices in August as the average property value grew by just 0.3 per cent month on month. This further extends the predominantly flat trend we’ve seen over the last six months, with the average house price having barely changed since March.

“While ongoing economic uncertainty continues to weigh on consumer sentiment – with evidence of both buyers and sellers exercising some caution – a number of important underlying factors such as affordability and employment remain strong.

“Although the housing market will undoubtedly be influenced by events in the wider economy, it continues to show a degree of resilience for the time being. We should also not lose sight of the fact that the single biggest driver of both prices and activity over the longer-term remains the dearth of available properties to meet demand from buyers.”

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