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House prices are falling at their fastest rate in more than a decade in February, according to Nationwide building society, with the average cost of a home dropping 1.1 per cent. Jeremy Leaf, principal of Jeremy Leaf & Co, told The Evening Standard: These comprehensive and widely respected figures reiterate continuing worries about interest rates and inflation, which are keeping prices in check. However, the market is definitely not in free-fall.’ Commenting further in City AM, he said: 'On the ground, we are seeing more listings and protracted sales so buyers have more choice, are taking longer and negotiating harder when making offers.’

However, Halifax painted a more positive picture, reporting that UK house prices picked up in February as calm returned to the property market after the autumn turmoil. Jeremy Leaf told The Guardian: ’The reduction in housing market activity has been quite modest considering recent rises in mortgage rates and the cost-of-living shock, while a fresh crop of properties has buoyed viewings considerably and is outstripping sales agreed. As a result, buyers are waiting to see if prices may soften further and mortgage repayment stabilise before committing.'

The sellers’ market is over; buyers are in the driving seat, forcing vendors to shave £14,000 on average off the asking price. Jeremy Leaf told The Telegraph that the change in the balance of power ‘is bringing out the worst in buyers. When they come back into the market after the mini-Budget we certainly saw them flexing their muscles.'

Annual house price growth may have slowed but rents are rising at their fastest rate since 2016, according to the Office for National Statistics. Jeremy Leaf told The Daily Mail: ‘The reasons for moving haven’t disappeared as buyers are slowly returning, encouraged by falling mortgage rates. Although viewings are up, sales conversions are harder due to more choice and increased buyer caution.'

Will the latest interest rate rise negatively impact the housing market? Jeremy Leaf explained in Country Life: ’There is a close call between change and no change – this latest rise in rates is a huge disappointment for the housing market as we were hoping the Bank would trust in its own data and leave well alone. Overall, the economy still feels fairly weak as real incomes are falling so we would have liked to have seen at least one month without a rate rise.’

UK mortgage approvals edged up in February but are down on last year, according to latest figures from the Bank of England. Jeremy Leaf told The Financial Times: ‘Demand is slowly rebuilding now that mortgage rates are starting to stabilise and more products are available as we enter the crucial spring period.'