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House prices unchanged in September: ONS

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that, on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, house prices in the UK were unchanged in September.

Annually, also calculated non-seasonally, house prices rose 3.5 per cent, up from the annual rise of 3.1 per cent seen a month earlier, leaving the average property in the UK at £232,554.

In England as a whole, this monthly unchanged figure is repeated. However, the annual rise stands 3.0 per cent, meaning that the average dwelling is valued at £249,408.

Exploring the data on a regional basis reveals that, on an annual basis, the value of homes in the West Midlands grew the most – 6.1 per cent, while London posted the lowest gains, at 0.3 per cent.

On a monthly basis, the East Midlands and West Midlands drew in having the highest monthly growth, at 1.1 per cent, while the North West dropped the most, at 0.8 per cent. Property prices in London also fell during the month – by 0.4 per cent.

In Wales as a whole, house prices rose 0.5 per cent on a monthly basis, and on an annual basis, 56.8 per cent. The average property price now costs £162,089.

North London estate agent Jeremy Leaf comments: “The price falls in London are masking a more resilient picture elsewhere in the country, underlining how misleading it can be to judge the market as a whole by what is happening in one region.

“Brexit is not the main culprit, although news today that negotiations may finally be coming to a conclusion will be welcome. Historic affordability issues, particularly in London, are more of a problem.”

Meanwhile, House Network managing director Mark Readings says: “Despite slow house price growth in England, the market is still extremely attractive and as this uncertainty fades, the market fundamentals of low-interest rates, strong employment figures and the recent extension of the government Help to Buy scheme, will all drive the market and support a positive upturn in 2019.”

Yomdel chief executive Andy Soloman says: “We’re used to seeing properties transact at quite some speed due to adrenaline fuelled levels of buyer demand but with this subsiding, it’s very much a case of slow but steady wins the race, with the market moving at a marathon pace, not a sprint and despite all that Brexit can throw at it.

“While this may have dampened market performance, the admirable thing is that it should at least, reach the finish line and for those with the stamina to endure the purchasing process, there are plenty of properties at below the usual asking price as seller expectations soften slightly.”

James Pendleton founder and director Lucy Pendleton adds: “We’re now used to seeing the UK housing market stand out from the wider economic outlook. The question is what is driving it.

“The data betrays apparent rising stars such as the East Midlands, West Midlands, Scotland and Wales. But look a little closer and it’s very much a case of all talk and no trousers.

“Growth in all these areas is clearly being powered by the price growth of new build properties. In the East and West Midlands the price of new builds is growing at more than 7 per cent annually, while in Scotland it’s 6 per cent and in Wales it’s an incredible 9.4 per cent.

“It means HTB is popular but that doesn’t mean it’s good for the country and economy in the long run. The longer it is in place, the more the market will be very sensitive to any suggestion the scheme’s future will be curtailed.”

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