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UK property prices fall while buyer confidence rises

Written by: Paul Robertson
The UK has seen the largest ever monthly fall in property prices across the country, as fewer sellers feel they have the upper hand.

The price of property coming to market nationally is down by an average of £8,703 over the last month, according to Rightmove.

The property website’s monthly house price index said this 3.3 per cent drop in new seller asking prices reduced the annual rate of increase from 8.5 per cent in November to give a final 2014 figure of plus 7 per cent.

Rightmove has forecast a national average rise in new seller asking prices in the range of 4 per cent to 5 per cent for 2015.

Miles Shipside, director and housing market analyst at Rightmove, said: “Whilst a near £9,000 drop is the biggest ever reduction in the price of newly marketed property compared to the month before and a sign of a market continuing to cool, a fall is not unexpected in December.

“The overall picture for the year is still one of a much recovered property market, with sellers and their estate agents confident enough to be putting property on the market at a higher price on average than a year ago, although we predict a slower pace of price growth in 2015. This means that sellers and agents will have to work harder to achieve a sale next year.”

Asking prices in Greater London dropped to an average of £570,796 from £601,180 in November, representing a 5.1 per cent drop over the month. Prices were down in all London boroughs, Hammersmith & Fulham and Hackney saw the biggest drops, reducing 7 per cent and 6 per cent respectively.

In addition the Halifax Housing Market Confidence Tracker has concluded that consumer confidence in the outlook for house prices has continued to fall from its peak in July 2014.

With Halifax forecasting an easing of house price growth to 3 per cent-5 per cent for 2015, the Tracker shows there has been a reversal of recent momentum, with a higher proportion of consumers now believing the next 12 months will be a better time to buy than to sell.

Craig McKinlay, mortgages director at Halifax, said: “The outlook for house prices in 2015 is for growth to moderate but continue to increase which perhaps explains why the proportion thinking it will be a good time to buy is again greater than the proportion thinking it will be a good time to sell.

“With an interest rate rise expected late 2015, possibly into early 2016 it will be interesting to see what impact the slight reduction in affordability has here.”

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