UK house prices fall for third month in succession
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UK property prices have dropped for the third month in a row, according to the Halifax.
Prices in May were down by 0.2 per cent month-on-month, having already fallen by 0.6 per cent in April and 0.3 per cent in March.
Over the quarter (March to May) prices fell by 0.5 per cent compared to the previous three months.
However, when compared with a year ago the picture was more positive: house prices were 2.6 per cent higher than they had been in May 2019, with the average UK home now costing £237,808.
Halifax managing director Russell Galley said the full force of lockdown measures had taken “a firm grip on the UK property market by May”, and this third successive monthly fall reflected “a continued loss of momentum following what was a strong start to the year”.
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He added that the limited number of transactions made calculating average house prices a challenging process, and “increased volatility is to be expected”.
Halifax’s latest house price index offers a more positive perspective than that offered by Nationwide earlier this week; it said the 1.7 per cent month-on-month fall in house prices recorded in May was the biggest dip in 11 years.
Nationwide’s index also showed annual growth slowing to 1.8 per cent from 3.7 per cent.
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Halifax’s Russell Galley said the recent relaxation of restrictions for property professionals “brought much-needed positive news with some advance indicators of buyer and seller interest quickly showing signs of improvement.
“This is likely to provide a short-term boost as buyers and homeowners attempt to kick-start transactions that had previously been put on hold.”
He added: “Looking ahead, we expect market activity to increase progressively as restrictions are eased further across the whole of the UK and we continue to have confidence in the underlying health of the housing market over the long-term.
“However, the extent of downward pressure on market confidence and prices over the coming months will depend on how quickly the economy is able to recover from the effects of the pandemic and the available government policy support for jobs and households.”