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House price growth plunges to five-year low

Written by: Lana Clements
House prices increased by 1.8% in February, the lowest rate of annual growth since 2013, as measured by Halifax.

Values tumbled by 0.7% on a quarterly basis, but edged up by 0.4% month-on-month, the lender’s data showed.

House prices are now sitting at an average £224,353.

Low mortgage rates and a lack of supply are helping to underpin the housing market, according to Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax.

He said: “House prices continue to remain broadly flat, as they have since the end of last year.

“Despite the November rise in the Bank of England Base Rate, mortgage rates continue to stay low by historical standards.

“While we expect price growth to remain low, the low mortgage rate environment, combined with an ongoing shortage of properties for sale, should continue to support house prices over the coming months.”

Buyers are continuing to negotiate hard on price, with Brexit creating some uncertainty, estate agents reported.

Jeremy Leaf, a north London agent, said: “There are more listings and viewings but a reluctance to make an offer until clear direction of travel for the market can be established, with buyers and sellers still negotiating hard.

“We don’t expect this pattern to alter very much over the next few months unless there is a Brexit breakthrough.”

Jonathan Samuels, chief executive of property lender, Octane Capital, added: “It’s hard to see the market picking up until there is clarity on the outcome of Brexit and inflation relaxes its grip on household finances.

“2018 is shaping up to be an uneventful year for the property market, with low single digit growth likely to be as good as it will get.”

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