House prices increased at the lowest annual rate seen in more than four years in June

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House prices increased at the lowest annual rate seen in more than four years in June, according to an index.

Property values were up by 2.6% year-on-year, marking the lowest rate since May 2013, Halifax said.

Annual house price growth is now running at around a quarter of the levels seen in March 2016, when property values were increasing by 10% year-on-year.

Across the UK, the average house price stood at £218,390 in June. This is £63,727 or 41% higher than a low point seen in April 2009.

On a monthly basis, house prices fell by 1% between May and June. This was the first monthly decline since January.

House prices between April and June were 0.1% lower than they were across the previous three months.

This was the third quarterly house price fall Halifax has seen in a row - the first time this has happened since November 2012.

Martin Ellis, a housing economist at Halifax, said: “House prices have flattened over the past three months. Although employment levels continue to rise, household finances face increasing pressure as consumer prices grow faster than wages.

This, combined with the new stamp duty on buy-to-let and second homes in 2016, appears to have weakened housing demand in recent months.

“A continued low mortgage rate environment, combined with an ongoing acute shortage of properties for sale should help continue to underpin house prices over the coming months.”

Sarah Beeny, owner of estate agent Tepilo.com, said: “Demand is still far outstripping supply and that will ensure prices remain stable.

“What we’re seeing is a gentle slowdown in house price growth, which the market needs every so often in order to correct itself and ensure that first-time buyers can still afford to get on the ladder and keep it buoyant.”

Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, pointed out that, in contrast to Halifax’s report, another house price study, from Nationwide Building Society, recently said that house prices increased by 1.1% month on month in June.

He said the dip shown by Halifax “probably doesn’t mark the start of a sustained fall in prices.”

Mr Tombs said: “The underlying trend in prices probably is flat.”

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: “Speculation about whether interest rates are going to rise sooner rather than later continues but mortgage rates are so far unaffected as lenders compete for business with cheap deals.

“With lenders continuing to offer a good range of high loan-to-value deals at competitive rates, first-time buyer numbers are strong, which is encouraging for the overall health of the housing market.”

See full story in the County Times

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