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House price growth continues downward trend – Halifax

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
UK house prices fell by 0.2% between July and August but buying a property was nearly 7% more expensive than this time last year, according to the latest Halifax house price index.

House prices in the three months to August were 6.9% higher than in the same period of 2015, but this is the lowest yearly growth rate since October 2013.

August’s 6.9% annual change was also down from the 8.4% recorded in July and far below the 10% growth rate of March 2016.

The Halifax house price index also revealed that property prices in the three months to August were 0.7% higher than the preceding three months (March – May), but again, the rate of increase has been on a downward trend over the past six months..

Its latest statistics showed that property values dipped by 0.2% between July and August with the average price now standing at £213,930.

Home sales also fell slightly – 1% – between June and July, ending the successive increases in the two preceding months.

The Halifax said that sales were “heavily distorted” by the introduction of the higher stamp duty tax rates for buy to let and second home purchases in April and it also noted that mortgage approvals were down for the second consecutive month.

According to the Bank of England figures, the volume of mortgage approvals for house purchases fell by 5% between June and July to 60,912 – the lowest since January 2015.

And new instructions by home sellers declined for the fifth consecutive month in July which contributed to a further drop in the stock of homes available for sales.

Martin Ellis, Halifax housing economist, said: “House price growth continued the trend of the past few months in August with a further moderation in both the annual and quarterly rates of increase.

“There are also signs of a softening in sales activity. The slowdown in the rate of house price growth is consistent with the forecast that we made at the end of 2015. Increasing difficulties in purchasing a home as house prices continued to increase more quickly than earnings were expected to constrain demand, curbing house price growth.”

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