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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

UK house price slowdown continues

UK house price growth slowed more than expected in the three months to April, further evidence of a slowing property market.

House prices in the three months to April were 9.2% higher than in the same three months last year, down from 10.1% one month ago.

Prices in the three months from February to April were 1.5% higher than in the preceding three months, virtually half the 2.9% published a month ago.

Halifax housing economist Martin Ellis said the market may improve later this year: “Current market conditions remain very tight as the severe imbalance between supply and demand persists.

“This situation, combined with low interest rates and rising employment and real earnings, should continue to push house prices up over the coming months."

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said house prices are growing at a slower pace after the flurry of activity from investors and second homebuyers ahead of the stamp duty surcharge on 1 April. 

“While the Halifax reports that confidence is dipping among consumers, most likely because of the uncertainty on the horizon concerning the EU referendum, lenders are keen to keep business coming through the doors by offering competitive rates and easing criteria.”

He said Barclays' decision to offer 100% per cent lending to first-time buyers and Nationwide and Halifax raising maximum mortgages should boost the market.

“With lenders having plenty of money to lend, they can either cut rates - which are already pretty low - or ease criteria so we expect to see plenty of the latter in coming weeks. For those looking to get a mortgage or remortgage, it is a good time to do it."

Jeremy Duncombe, director, Legal & General Mortgage Club, said: “It’s not surprising to see that house prices have softened slightly following the rush to complete before changes to stamp duty took hold for buy-to-let purchasers.

“However, it’s important to note that prices are still rising annually at an alarming rate.”

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