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House prices rose for the second month running in June, although the market remains flat, according to the Halifax. Jeremy Leaf, principal of Jeremy Leaf & Co, told The Guardian: ‘Once again, we are seeing a market in subdued mode, supported broadly for some time by low interest rates and unemployment as well as more specifically by low stock.’ He explained further in The Daily Mail: ‘On the ground, we have reached the limit of what many buyers can afford so this is not a correction, more a realignment of prices to reflect changes in circumstances and to address the potential standoff between buyer and seller.’
Meanwhile, more historic data from the Office for National Statistics revealed that house price growth in May slowed to its lowest annual rate in nearly five years. Commenting in City AM, Jeremy Leaf said: ‘These figures are interesting, as this is the most comprehensive survey of UK house prices, and confirm what we have seen in others and on the ground. In other words, property prices cannot be sustained indefinitely by low stock and mortgage rates. Lower demand is forcing vendors to be more realistic with fewer, more nervous buyers who are prepared to shrug off Brexit concerns.’
Sealed bids can be used by vendors to heighten attention and offers in a buoyant location. However, Jeremy Leaf sounded a note of caution in The Sunday Times: ‘The whole process could be a bluff in a slower market by owners and agents trying to fool the few prospective purchasers that demand is stronger than it really is.’
The likelihood of an increase in interest rates in August has been heightened by recent economic data and has prompted some activity in the mortgage market, said UK Finance. Jeremy Leaf told BBC News: ‘Unfortunately, any imminent rise is likely to have a disproportionately negative effect on already brittle confidence.’
As we head towards the summer break, it’s tempting for many would-be vendors to hold off and list their home for sale in September. But July and August are among the busier months of the year for sales to be agreed. Jeremy Leaf told The Daily Express: ‘The best time of year for selling houses and flats is usually when the weather improves. Well-tended gardens can almost count as an extra room so not only make a property look more welcoming but can have a significant influence on buyers.’
Boris Johnson has been criticised for remaining in his £20m taxpayer-funded mansion, despite resigning as Foreign Secretary. Jeremy Leaf told The Mirror that he could understand Mr Johnson’s reluctance to move: ‘It’s a very handsome house and will be maintained to a wonderful standard inside. It’s a fantastic place where most people would like to live and be waited on.’