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House prices slip back in May

Magnifying glass in front of an open newspaper with paper houses. Concept of rent, search, purchase real estate.House prices dropped back by 0.2 per cent in May to an average of £214,946 as confidence among buyers faltered, Nationwide’s latest index has shown.

The Building Society’s housing market data reveals that on a seasonally-adjusted basis there was a small dip in month-on-month prices between April and May, although prices were up by 0.6 per cent on the same time last year.

Nationwide says it is the sixth month that house prices have risen by less than 1 per cent and that new buyer enquiries and consumer confidence have been subdued recently.

North London estate agent Jeremy Leaf says: “Once again, we see no real pattern for the housing market emerging – one month prices, transactions or mortgage approvals are up, then down or very little movement, the next.

“The good news for us at the sharp end is that there is no major correction being seen or expected for the time being at least, despite some predictions to the contrary.

“However, the recent EU parliamentary elections demonstrate the country is still massively divided about Brexit just as the property market is split about how to remove the uncertainty it has created.”

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Meanwhile, SPF Private Clients chief executive Mark Harris says: “With property transactions and mortgages approved for house purchases remaining broadly stable, it is encouraging that buyers and sellers are shaking off some of their prevailing lethargy and getting on with their lives.

“The political shenanigans over Brexit have gone on for far too long, with no signs of resolution, and there is so only so long people can put decisions on hold, particularly significant ones such as buying a home.”

Mortgage Advice Bureau head of lending Brian Murphy agrees with Harris that the figures show a housing market that remains stable in the face of wider uncertainty.

He adds: “All the key fundamentals have remained in place since the beginning of the year – low unemployment, rising average earnings, product rates at or near to record low levels and in some regions of the UK, ongoing buyer demand.

“With all of these factors at play, what we are seeing is that at a macro level the market is ticking over as the regions where activity – and therefore house price growth – are at higher levels counterbalance those where buyers are more cautious and prices have seen downwards pressure as a consequence.”

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