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House prices rise at slower rate in July

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UK house prices increased by 5.2% in the 12 months to July, down on growth of 5.7% in the year to June, data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows.

The ONS house price index recorded the average UK property price at £282,000 in July, up from £277,000 in June and £272,000 a year earlier.

According to the ONS, July’s annual house price growth saw the lowest rate of change since September 2013, indicating that the UK housing market was continuing to show signs of easing.

While the index showed a 0.8% rise in house prices in June, this was down on average increases of 1.2% witnessed during the same period a year earlier.

Despite a slowdown in growth, the ONS said house price increases remained strong by historical standards.

During the year to July 2015, house prices increased in all countries within the UK but Scotland, where the cost of a home fell by 1.3%, compared with an annual fall of 0.6% in June. Northern Ireland saw the most notable growth, as prices leapt by 7.4%, followed by England (5.6%) and Wales (0.3%).

Likewise, house prices increased in all but one of the UK regions, with the North East seeing a drop of 0.7% in the 12 months to July. The east of England saw the highest growth of 8.3%, while house prices in the South East increased by 6.7% and 5.5% in London.

Excluding London and the South East, house prices in the UK increased by 4.4% during the same period, down from 5.2% in the year to June.

Property prices in England stood at £295,000 in July, with prices totalling £173,000 in Wales, £154,000 in Northern Ireland and £196,000 in Scotland.

Jonathan Adams, director of prime central London estate agency Napier Watt, said: “The housing market is fragmented with higher-value properties struggling to sell as international buyers become more fickle and scared off by the tax incurred when purchasing high value residential property. There is very much a ripple effect – the action has moved out from prime central London to the outskirts and those commuter areas where there is better value to be had, although not as much if prices continue to rise as they have been.”

He added: “For those wishing to sell these high-value properties it is essential that they are aware of the new landscape and adjust their pricing structure accordingly. There is no doubt that prime central London in particular will remain exceptionally sought-after with continued inward investment but we cannot expect double digit property inflation to continue while the government continue to take a higher and higher tax revenue from international buyers.”

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