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Annual house price growth slowed to its lowest levels since May 2013 in October, according to Nationwide building society. Jeremy Leaf, principal of Jeremy Leaf & Co, told The Evening Standard: ‘We expect to see more balance but no fireworks in the period leading up to Christmas.’ He added in The Daily Express: ‘The difficulty remains that economic and political uncertainty is clouding judgments at a time when the economy is really not in apparently bad shape.’ Finally, he concluded in The Mirror: ‘First-time buyers are taking the place of investors, which will bring some welcome good news, particularly if sellers recognise the importance of negotiation.’
Over at the Halifax, house prices were reported to be rising at their slowest annual pace in five years, with growth falling from 2.5pc in September to 1.5pc in October. Jeremy Leaf told City AM: ‘Property prices are still rising largely because of stock shortages, albeit more slowly than they have been. Slightly disappointing news tends to have a disproportionately negative effect on an already fragile housing market.’ He added in The Daily Telegraph that realism was ‘hitting home’ to many sellers who are starting to appreciate that the first offer they receive ‘could very well be their only one, however unpalatable it may be’.
The government plans to allow flats to be built on top of existing apartment blocks without planning permission. Jeremy Leaf told The Times: ‘Removal of the requirement to make an application could result in a proliferation of ugly and poorly designed extensions out of character with nearby buildings, which would not otherwise have received consent. In many cases, the extended buildings will have inadequate amenity space or parking provisions and may not have taken into account overlooking or light issues. Pleasant high streets could end up with rooftop shanty-towns of ill-considered boxes.’
The proportion of property transactions liable for stamp duty has fallen to a four-year low, according HMRC, although transactions in October showed a .1.3 per cent rise compared with the same month last year. Jeremy Leaf told The Financial Times that the ‘fairly flat’ transaction numbers were ‘encouraging given the general prevailing gloom’.
Your driveway is important and can reveal more than you think about a property. Jeremy Leaf told The Daily Mail: ‘If your house has a big enough front garden, a carriage driveway is an aspirational choice. No more backing out into traffic – just an easy in and out manoeuvre as well as possibly better security and adding to your property’s value. Off-street parking is a big plus for any property, and will also reduce your car insurance.’