Best Advice – Halifax: Annual House Price Growth Eases

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Halifax has reported that house prices have flattened over the past three months.

Prices in the three months to June were marginally lower than in the preceding three months. The annual rate of growth has fallen, to 2.6%; the lowest rate since May 2013.

Prices in the three months to June were 0.1% lower than in the preceding quarter.

Halifax said the average price of a home is now £218,390.

Martin Ellis, Halifax housing economist, said: “Although employment levels continue to rise, household finances face increasing pressure as consumer prices grow faster than wages. This, combined the new stamp duty on buy-to-let and second homes in 2016, appears to have weakened housing demand in recent months.

“A continued low mortgage rate environment, combined with an ongoing acute shortage of properties for sale should help continue to underpin house prices over the coming months.”

Lucy Pendleton, director of independent estate agents James Pendleton, said: “The real takeaway here is that the annual growth rate has slumped despite last year’s comparative data covering the uncertainty of the EU referendum and the run-up to it.

“In that context, the market’s price performance is decidedly sluggish nationally even if last month was a general election month.

“In London, we’ve seen slight downward adjustments in prices to more realistic levels but transaction levels have not tailed off which is a good sign that more extreme price corrections are not necessary.

“We’re now in the midst of a slight downward trend, particularly in London, but where this needs to happen it’s in everyone’s interest that it proceeds in an orderly fashion.

“It has been coming for a while because of affordability problems building up in a market relying on near record low supply of late, particularly in the capital. But it’s when prices refuse to move that transaction levels decline and that’s the worst thing that can happen because the market seizes up.

“Inflation is on the march and buy-to-let lending for 2018 was last month revised down by the CML by more than 10 per cent. All this reflects the Halifax data’s suggestion that the market is slowly but surely moving onto more sustainable ground.”