UK house price growth slows to weakest rate in five years

Sebastian McCarthy
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Political Uncertainty Dampens UK Housing Market
The average price of a house edged up to £227,869 in October (Source: Getty)

House prices slumped to their lowest rate of growth in more than five years last month, as sales remained flat in the latest sign of subdued activity within the UK property market.

Prices in the three months to October were 1.5 per cent higher than in the same three months a year earlier, marking a drop from 2.5 per cent in September and the lowest rate of annual growth since March 2013, according to today’s Halifax house price index.

The average price of a house edged up to £227,869 in October, with Halifax stating that the levels of growth remained within their own forecasted annual growth range of 0-3 per cent for 2018.

One large driver of the slowdown in house prices has been prime central London, where a combination of stamp duty and political volatility have hampered transactions since their peak in 2014.

However, on a monthly basis house prices rose marginally by 0.7 per cent in October, following two consecutive monthly falls.

Russell Galley, managing director of Halifax, said: "House prices continue to be supported by the fact that the supply of new homes and existing properties available for sale remains low. Further house price support comes from an already high and improving employment rate and historically low mortgage rates which are creating higher rates of relative affordability."

Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent and former RICS residential chairman, added: "Property prices are still rising largely because of stock shortages, albeit more slowly than they have been. Slightly disappointing news tends to have a disproportionately negative effect on an already fragile housing market.

"On the ground, realism is hitting home to many sellers who are starting to appreciate that the first offer they receive could very well be their only one, however unpalatable it may be. However, listings are increasing and four out of five sellers are said to be buyers so there are some small grounds for optimism when the Brexit fog finally clears."