Housing boom shows signs of slowing down

Tim Wallace
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BRITAIN’S house price boom slowed down in June, according to figures published yesterday – but strong demand is expected to keep prices rising steadily.

Prices jumped 8.8 per cent across the country in the 12 months to June, Halifax said, to an average of £183,462.

However, in June alone prices slid 0.6 per cent, reflecting the volatility of the market over the short term.

Despite the dip, the overwhelming majority of chartered surveyors reported prices increasing in the month.

A net balance of 53 per cent said they had seen prices rise, barely slowing from the 56 per cent in May, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors said today.

The figure in London was 31 per cent, in line with solid price growth but the lowest level recorded since March 2013.

Some of the edge has been taken off the booming market as demand growth slows down. The surveyors reported new buyer enquiries up by eight per cent in the month, the slowest rate in 18 months.

The limits of buyers’ resources could be one factor, with surveyors e.surv reporting a fresh surge in buyers taking out big loans.

It recorded 10,898 mortgages where the deposit was worth less than 15 per cent of the house price, a jump of 52 per cent on the year.

And the sharp increase takes the number of the riskier loans to its highest level since April 2008.

As a result, one-fifth of house purchases in the month used a high loan-to-value (LTV) mortgage.

“A glut of high LTV deals has tempted borrowers back to the market, supporting a flood of first-time buyers over the last year,” said e.surv’s Richard Sexton.

But he added that “the tides may be about to turn for borrowers. High LTV lending may start to tail off in the wake of new regulations.”