Transactions and prices are softening, warns the Halifax

Transactions and prices are softening, warns the Halifax

House prices in the three months to late October were on average 5.2 per cent higher than over the same period of 2015 - but with no change over the most recent quarter, the Halifax warns that market activity and prices are both softening. 

"Annual house price growth has nearly halved from a peak of 10 per cent in March this year, but remains robust at 5.2 per cent," says Halifax chief economist Martin Ellis.

"This expected slowdown appears to have been largely due to mounting affordability pressures, which have increasingly constrained housing demand. Whilst house price growth may ease further in the coming months, very low mortgage rates and a shortage of properties available for sale should help support price levels," he says.

Industry reaction has suggested the slowdown may still have some time to run.

"October has seen a flattening out of house price growth, with a real effect of the stamp duty changes feeding through to reduced market demand. Many are forecasting that the property market may see a slowdown as the uncertainty around Britain's withdrawal from the European Union impacts on consumer confidence," says Ian Thomas of mortgage firm LendInvest.

Meanwhile Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent and former chairman of the the RICS residential faculty, says he is finding a determination amongst vendors and buyers to do business, "provided both are realistic in terms of price."

And he adds that today's US election risks adding to market wobbles. "Whatever the outcome, the market will survive any ups and downs that it creates. However, a Trump victory would add to any uncertainty and have an impact not only on the housing market but on the stock market and the value of Sterling."

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