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House prices fall for second consecutive month

Written by: Owain Thomas
House prices fell for the second consecutive month in September and by a much steeper margin than August, according to the Halifax House Price Index.

The monthly fall of 1.4% to £225,995 from £229,284 continues the trend across the country, showing a weak housing market over the end of the summer with the August total falling by 0.2%.

On an annual basis house prices in the three months to September were 2.5% higher than in the same three months a year earlier – down from 3.7% in August.

Prices in the third quarter of the year rose 1.8% compared to the second three months, the same figure seen in August.

Overall the figures appear to show a sluggish market with the lack of availability of homes dictating much of the market dynamics.

Official statistics have suggested the downward trend may be driven by a soft London and South East market, however Halifax did not have a further breakdown of its figures.

Steadying house price inflation

Halifax managing director, Russell Galley, said: “With the annual rate of house price growth easing to 2.5% in September from 3.7% in August and the quarterly rate of growth remaining at 1.8% for the second month, we are seeing a steadying in house price inflation across these more stable measures.

“This is set among mortgage approvals and completed house sales remaining broadly unchanged, although a gradual pickup in wage growth has helped to support household finances.

“The annual rate of growth is near the top of our forecast range of 0-3% for 2018, as a low supply of new homes and existing properties for sale, combined with historically low mortgage rates and a high employment rate, continue to support house prices.”

Legal & General Mortgage Club director Kevin Roberts echoed Galley’s thoughts, and noted that limited housing supply was still strangling the ambitions of borrowers up and down the country.

“Whether it’s first-time buyers, second steppers or people looking to downsize, a lack of suitable housing is still preventing many from making their first or next purchase,” he said.

“There is good news – steadier house price growth, schemes like Help to Buy and a wider choice of mortgages are making it easier for some first-time buyers to take a step onto the ladder.

“However, more support from the government is needed.”

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