UK house prices fall for FOURTH month in a row

Halifax said property values in June were 0.1 percent lower than in May and followed month-on-month price falls of 0.2 percent in May, 0.6 percent in April and 0.3 percent in March. Despite four months of prices edging downwards, house prices were higher in June when compared with a year earlier. Across the UK, property values in June were 2.5 percent higher than in the same month a year earlier. The average house price in June was £237,616.

Halifax managing director Russell Galley said: “Average house prices fell by 0.1 percent in June as the UK property market continued to emerge from lockdown.

“Though only a small decrease, it is notable as the first time since 2010 – when the housing market was struggling to gain traction following the shock of the global financial crisis – that prices have fallen for four months in a row.

“Activity levels bounced back strongly in June, which is typically the busiest month for mortgage activity in the UK.”

He continued: “New mortgage inquiries were up by 100 percent compared to May, and with prospective buyers also revisiting purchases previously put on hold, transaction volumes rose sharply compared to previous months.

“However, whilst encouraging, it remains too early to say if this level of activity will be sustained.

“Of course, come the autumn, the macroeconomic landscape in the UK should be clearer and the scale of the impact of the pandemic on the labour market more apparent.

“We do expect greater downward pressure on prices in the medium term, the extent of which will depend on the success of Government support measures and the speed at which the economy can recover.”

READ MORE: Average house prices slip down in June but prices rise in some regions

Shares in housebuilding firms jumped this week amid speculation that the UK Government could be poised to raise the threshold at which buyers start paying stamp duty.

Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent and a former residential chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics), said: “On the one hand, prices have fallen for the fourth consecutive month but new mortgage inquiries are surging as buyers and sellers emerge from lockdown.

“The direction of travel in coming months will depend on the degree of support offered by the Government and how quickly the economy can recover when furlough in particular is withdrawn.

Mr Sunak’s proposals to raise the stamp duty threshold from £125,000 to between £300,000 and £500,000 are designed to kick-start the housing market which was effectively deep-frozen at the height of the coronavirus lockdown.

Market analysts had feared the Chancellor might announce the six-month tax break tomorrow but defer its implementation into the autumn and warned such delays would simply see potential purchasers put their plans on hold to save thousands of pounds in stamp duty.

But HM Treasury sources moved to reassure worried economists by insisting it would come into immediate effect.


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