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The north of England’s property market was the worst performing region in Britain for house price growth in the three months ending in September, according to Nationwide building society. Jeremy Leaf, principal of Jeremy Leaf & Co, explained in The Daily Telegraph: ‘Once again, we are finding that the market continues to be supported by a shortage of stock and low mortgage rates, as well as new buyers returning from holiday keen to take advantage of some more realistic pricing,’ he said. He expanded further in The Daily Express: ‘It is a mixed bag, however, because activity and prices in London remain challenging whereas in many places outside London it is a different picture. This is mainly due to historic affordability reasons, particularly when this well-respected index confirms London prices are still more than 50 percent above their 2007 peak.’
Meanwhile, Halifax reported that house prices fell for the second month in a row, as buyers adopt a ‘wait and see’ approach to the property market over fears about Brexit. Jeremy Leaf told The Daily Mail: ‘Sluggish transactional activity is bad for the property market but much worse for the economy. On the ground, sellers have not shrugged off Brexit concerns to put their properties on the market to sell in sufficient numbers to make a difference. However, buyer interest has improved in what remains more of a needs-driven market since people return from a protracted summer break.’
The number of people moving house in London has collapsed over the past year, with agents concerned about the slow and sticky market, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Jeremy Leaf told The Evening Standard: ‘We are seeing a relatively good number of viewings but not much commitment. Less demand from investors, too, means less pressure on buyers and transactions are taking much longer.’
UK house prices rise at their lowest annual rate in five years, according to the Office for National Statistics. Jeremy Leaf explained in The Guardian that this was not a uniform picture: ‘A clearer regional pattern is emerging as buyers seek better value for money outside London, whereas prices in the capital continue to drift down.’
The latest figures from HMRC show that UK property market transactions dropped by 2.7 per cent in September compared with the same month last year. Jeremy Leaf told The Times: ‘Transactions will always be a much better test of property market health than prices. Some buyers and sellers are cautiously coming to the market but in nowhere near the numbers hoped for or expected.’