Put your house on it ...price boom ends

Chris Papadopoullos
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HOUSE price growth slowed in Sept­em­ber, an influential report from Halifax showed yesterday, adding to evidence that activity in the UK’s rampant property market was moderating.

Prices rose 0.6 per cent last month and 9.6 per cent in the past year.

But this still-substantial growth marks a continued slowdown from the annual growth of 10.2 per cent in July and 9.7 per cent August.

Data from the Royal Instit­ution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) also shows a slowdown in the market. Its headline price index fell from 39 in September to 30 this month, the lowest reading since June 2013. Its index shows the percentage of surveyors reporting rising prices, minus those who saw prices fall.

The slowdown in London was more pronounced, as RICS’ price balance turned negative to minus eight in September for the first time since the beginning of January 2011.

The drop ends the longest continuous period of price growth that this survey has recorded for the capital.

Homeowners also see the market slowing – property search engine Zoopla found 88 per cent expected house prices to rise over the coming six months, down from 92 per cent three months ago to the lowest proportion in 15 months.

“Demand and supply are looking a little more balanced, which is removing some of the upward pressure in prices, particularly in London. This is a healthy development,” said Simon Robinson, RICS’ chief economist.

“Part of this is down to the Bank of England becoming more vocal about the risks, part of this is down to affordability, part of this is down to the new mortgage rules and part of this is down to expectations of higher interest rates.”

Meanwhile, the Mortgage Advice Bureau found the average housebuyer taking advantage of the Help-to-Buy (HtB) mortgage guarantee scheme had a deposit of just six per cent of the loan.

The set of data illustrates the extent to which the scheme has opened up the market for those with smaller deposits – though they are also riskier borrowers, with less room for manoeuvre when interest rates increase.

The average HtB buyer in August had a deposit of just £9,229, and an income of £32,745 – 19 per cent below the overall buyers’ average of £40,588, but still 24 per cent above the UK average salary of £26,500.