Tuesday, December 12

House price growth is ‘coming to a standstill’

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The growth in house prices is slowing to a standstill, according to new figures from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

A net balance of 1% of surveyors reported an increase in prices during July, down from 7% in June. The figure records the gap between the proportion reporting a rise, minus those reporting a fall.

This latest reading was the weakest since March 2013 – however, different regions across the UK are experiencing different trends.

House prices are continuing to grow strongly in areas such as Northern Ireland, the West Midlands and the South West.

But prices are falling in London and the South East, the latter of which recorded its weakest reading since 2011.

Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at RICS, blamed recent tax changes and a lack of new homes after the financial crisis.

He said: “Sales activity in the housing market has been slipping in the recent months and the most worrying aspect of the latest survey is the suggestion that this could continue for some time to come.

“The flatter trend in price growth is arguably a silver lining but there is no real indication that the housing market will become materially more affordable any time soon.”

During the previous two months, there has been a particular gap between the original asking price and the selling price – most noticeably in homes at the top end of the market.

Two-thirds of those surveyed reported that homes marketed at more than £1m had sold for less than their original asking price.

That figure was 57% for homes listed between £500,000 and £1m, while 37% of surveyors said homes listed at less than £500,000 had been sold below their original asking price.

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