House prices fall for second quarter in a row

House prices fall for second quarter in a row

House prices have fallen for the second quarter in a row, extending the downturn witnessed during the first three months of the year.

Average UK house prices dropped by 0.2 per cent in the three months to May compared to the first quarter of the year, according to the latest Halifax House Price Index (HPI).

It marks the second quarterly fall since November 2012, adding to growing evidence of a slowdown in the market.

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Nationwide’s latest HPI showed house price growth in May was the weakest in nearly four years.

Halifax said house prices rose by 0.4 per cent between April and May, continuing a trend of flat growth during the past three months.

Year-on-year, however, prices were up by 3.3 per cent, bringing the average UK house price to £220,706 - 43 per cent higher than its low point of £154,663 in April 2009.

Halifax housing economist Martin Ellis said: “After reaching a recent peak of 10 per cent in March 2016, the annual house price growth has since fallen to 3.3 per cent in May.

“House prices have again fallen over the past three months. Overall, prices in the three months to May were -0.2 per cent lower than in the preceding three months; the same rate as in April.

“The fact that the supply of new homes and existing properties available for sale remains low, combined with historically low mortgage rates and a high employment rate, is likely to support house price levels over the coming months.”

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, commented: “The Halifax figures are interesting as they reinforce findings from other recent surveys, suggesting that we should be concentrating not just on increasing supply of new homes but encouraging existing homeowners to move. 

“Buyers and sellers have been in limbo recently with the market awaiting more certainty from the general election and Brexit negotiations. However, the good news is that there is no sign of market collapse while mortgage rates remain low.”