Residential 

House prices down in October

House prices down in October

House prices fell slightly in October, with declines witnessed across most of the UK, according to government data.

The UK house price index from HM Land Registry showed a 0.5 per cent decline during the month, taking the average house price to £223,807.

The east of England, the East Midlands and the south west were the only areas in which prices rose month-on-month, with declines recorded in the remaining six regions.

On an annual basis, prices were up by 4.5 per cent across the UK, but the rate of inflation slowed from 5.4 per cent in September.

The East Midlands saw the strongest annual growth, with prices up by 7 per cent.

In contrast, London’s average house prices climbed by just 2.1 per cent over the year, making it the weakest-performing region.

The news comes after Zoopla revealed homeowners were being forced to sell their homes at almost 4 per cent less than the asking price, with the biggest markdowns witnessed in the capital.

Despite the price slowdown, recent seasonally adjusted data from HM Revenue and Customs has shown transaction levels have remained high and were up 1.7 per cent in October to reach 105,260.

Founder and chief executive of eMoov.co.uk Russell Quirk said the figures showed the market was suffering from "a minor seasonal frostbite rather than signs of a further market freeze". 

He said: "While there has been a fall in the number of fresh listings coming on to the market as many now wait until after Christmas before selling, the number of actual transactions has continued to increase at a healthy rate.

"This would suggest that it is business as usual for those already going through the process, but sellers are perhaps adjusting their expectations ever so slightly where price is concerned, in order to secure a sale this side of Christmas in tougher market conditions and to a tighter timeline."

Nicholas Finn, executive director of Garrington Property Finders, said: "House prices in many parts of London are struggling to shrug off the deep freeze, with the pockets of warmth getting steadily fewer.

"The stamp duty cut announced last month will have negligible impact in London, and the capital is paying the price for its years of double-digit price growth.

"While demand is still there, buyers will only accept the prospect of limited capital appreciation in return for sizeable price cuts."

simon.allin@ft.com

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