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Buyers may be ‘holding fire’ in anticipation of Boris Johnson reforming stamp duty

Theo Osborn | 11:45 Wednesday 7th August 2019

The average house price in the UK fell by 0.2% in July compared with the previous month.

The latest Halifax house price index revealed that the average house price now stands at £236,120.

House prices were 0.4% higher in the latest quarter (May to July) than the previous three-month period.

Prices were 4.1% higher in the three months to July compared with the same period last year.

Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax, said: “The average UK house price fell slightly for a second month, as the market continues to tread water with marginal increases or decreases in each monthly period. 

“That said, it’s worth remembering that while economic uncertainty continues to weigh on the market, the overall trend actually remains one of comparative stability, with average prices down by less than £600 over the last three months.”

This comes as HMRC figures showed that non-seasonally adjusted house sales were approximately 25.1% lower in June 2019 than in June 2018.

Russell added: “We have seen a reported drop off in the number of properties sold during the early months of summer, which may lead some to speculate a downturn is on the horizon. 

“However, new buyer enquiries are up, and favourable mortgage affordability — driven by low interest rates and strong wage growth — should continue to underpin prices for the time being.

“In the longer term, we believe there is unlikely to be a step change in market activity until buyers and sellers see some form of resolution to the current economic uncertainty.”

Mark Harris, chief executive at mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, concluded: “It is still very much steady as she goes for the housing market. 

“The summer is always quieter as people head off on their holidays, but with new buyer enquiries up, there are encouraging signs that business may pick up in the autumn. 

“However, until the Brexit deadline of 31st October has passed, it seems very unlikely that there will be a serious uptick in activity. 

“Even then, we may also see people holding fire in anticipation of Boris Johnson reforming stamp duty.”

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