• by Kevin Murphy

Britain: Halifax Reports Steady Housing Prices

Despite the political turmoil for Brexit and whether or not Prime Minister Boris Johnson hangs on to 10 Downing Street for now Britains home prices remain steady. Mortgage lender Halifax says many home owners are taking a more wait and see attitude before putting their homes on the market. Housing prices for the UK have increased by 1.8% in the year to August at £233,541in a report by This Is Money.

Britain's largest lender Halifax reports that average home prices have increased 1.8% in the year to August 2019 to £233,541.

Additionally Halifax reports the price of buying a home has increased by £655 or 0.3% with the average home now £654 less than the February peak period at £234,195.

Russell Galley, of Halifax, says:

‘While ongoing economic uncertainty continues to weigh on consumer sentiment – with evidence of both buyers and sellers exercising some caution – a number of important underlying factors such as affordability and employment remain strong.

‘Although the housing market will undoubtedly be influenced by events in the wider economy, it continues to show a degree of resilience for the time being.

‘We should also not lose sight of the fact that the single biggest driver of both prices and activity over the longer-term remains the dearth of available properties to meet demand from buyers.’

Housing prices regionally indicate that for the UK homes in London and the South East have declined but the large cities and for the North are showing increases for home prices.

For the London market estate agents are reporting that sellers are taking a more realistic approach to the values of their homes going on the market and that sales are beginning to increase.

North London estate agent and former RICS residential chairman Jeremy Leaf says in This Is Money: ‘

'What we are seeing on the ground is a little more enthusiasm from buyers and sellers returning from holiday and finding they can put off making the necessary changes in their accommodation no longer.'

‘Realistic buyers and sellers are also taking advantage of improved affordability and low mortgage rates but we are finding that it is only those prepared to negotiate hard who are successful.'

Will there be a cut to the stamp duty? This will decide whether prices go up our down say analysts for the prime housing markets.

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients says:

'Transactions remain fairly steady as those buyers and sellers who have to get on with things continue to do so. Deals are being done and early signs are that business could be brisk this autumn even as Westminster continues to argue over Brexit.’

For first time buyers Zoopla reports that increased sales activity increased in 2018 with 36% of sales and half of all mortgages. It is expected that 2019 will be have similar results.

Zoopla says:

'In recent years, first time buyers have been the driving force behind housing sales. First-time buyer numbers have grown for eight consecutive years, up 85 per cent since 2010, outpacing other buyer groups.'

Mike Scott, chief property analyst at estate agent Yopa, says ‘

'There is no sign of any sustained fall in house prices on the horizon. Mortgage approvals remain strong, and HMRC’s gloomy provisional figures for the numbers of homes sold in May and June have now been revised upwards as more returns have been received for those months.’

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