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The housing market is stuck in limbo awaiting political and economic direction, according to the Halifax. Jeremy Leaf, principal of Jeremy Leaf & Co, told The Guardian: ‘At the sharp end, many buyers in particular are still cautious but looking beyond 31st October whereas successful sellers are facing up to sometimes unpalatable offers in order to move on.’ 

The Halifax reported that house prices shrank by 0.3 per cent in June. Discussing the figures in City AM, Jeremy Leaf said: ‘[The figures] paint a confusing picture with the annual house price increase actually greater than it was last month while comparative figures from 12 months ago are also unreliable.’ He added in The Mirror: ‘The latest Halifax house price numbers, showing a monthly dip in values, are not going to encourage buyers to make a commitment while prices continue to soften.’

However, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, a more stable trend is emerging in the housing market. Jeremy Leaf told The Express: ‘The RICS survey confirms what we’ve been seeing ‘on the ground’: an expected seasonal increase as some buyers look beyond Brexit and the present political uncertainty but only if they can perceive value. Clearly demand can only remain pent-up for so long. Nevertheless, we’re not seeing a substantial increase in activity yet, despite more valuation requests and listings.’

Meanwhile, Nationwide reported that house prices rose by £650 in a year. Jeremy Leaf told The Daily Mail that Nationwide’s figures ‘confirm what we are finding on the ground – that the market is very much in limbo on the one hand underpinned by near record low mortgage rates and improving affordability but on the other, not moving ahead as we might have expected. Fortunately, first-time buyers are slowing returning, taking advantage of buy-to-let landlord caution following various tax and regulation changes.’

The average age of first-time buyers could rise to 40 in the next decade. Jeremy Leaf explained in The Times: ‘First-time buyers are getting older and staying at home for longer. There’s an aspiration to move out of home at a young age, but a financial need to do so much later. For those stuck in the rental sector without financial help from their parents, there’s the very real possibility that they’ll never to be able to raise the equity to get on the ladder at all. That has all sorts of implications for people’s retirement savings, particularly with pension saving levels so low.’

What next for the housing market? Jeremy Leaf told Money Observer: ‘The housing market is in limbo, reflecting economic and political conditions – in other words, awaiting some direction one way or another. Prices and transactions have held up surprisingly well, though, and the market is proving fairly resilient. Overall, London has suffered more than most areas, as prices were getting out of control and buyers are now looking for better value, which they are increasingly finding outside the capital.’