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August brings an early fall for property prices

House prices fell in August for the first time this year, according to Halifax&#39s monthly house price index.

The index shows a 0.6 per cent drop in prices, with the average house price dropping to £160,565 from £161,466 in July. In July, prices rose by 1.1 per cent, in June they were up 1.2 per cent and in August 2003 they rose by 1.7 per cent.

Halifax says the 1.8 per cent rise in prices over the last three months is significantly lower than the 6.5 per cent rise in the preceding three months. It believes that the five rises in bank base rate since November last year are starting to act as a brake.

Halifax predicts that house price inflation will slow gradually over the rest of this year and into next year.

It points to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors&#39 monthly survey which shows a rise in unsold properties on estate agents&#39 books and fall in buyer enquiries. Bank of England figures have also shown a drop in the number of mortgages approved for house purchase.

Halifax chief economist Martin Ellis says: “Occasional monthly falls are part of the normal fluctuations in the housing market, even during periods when the market is very strong. Indeed, this is the 10th monthly fall in the last five years, a period when prices have been on a very strong upward trend. We continue to expect house price inflation to slow gradually over the remainder of 2004 and into next year as higher interest rates and the increasing difficulties faced by potential first-time buyers in entering the market curb housing demand.”


IFA takes case to Europe over FSA memos

An IFA has accused regulators and the ombudsman of leaking secret internal documents in a conspiracy to have him struck off. David Williams has lodged a petition to the European Parliament claiming that the FSA and FOS swapped memos about the status of his business Tudor House Financial Services. Williams, who was the principal of […]

Independent view

The Treasury select committee&#39s long-awaited publication, which concluded that there should be an end to trail commission, is another clear indication that our law makers do not understand what they are talking about. It seems to me that their task should have been to encourage greater savings in the UK marketplace, not deliver another headline […]

Zurich bond shares choice with investors

Zurich is offering investors another chance to invest in a capital-protected bond that is linked to the FTSE 100 and Halifax House Price indices for five years and six months. The select guaranteed account issue 2 is available to those with between £2,500 and £250,000. Investors decide whether they to link their capital to the […]


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